Dell Medical School’s collaborative program aims to improve access to substance, opioid use disorder treatment in Texas hospitals

Kiernan McCormick

A UT program at Dell Medical School is working to bring accessible treatment to people with substance and opioid use disorder during acute hospitalization, or short-term inpatient medical care.

The Support Hospital Opioid Use disorder Treatment (SHOUT) Texas program is a program at Dell Medical School and UT Health San Antonio’s Texas medication for opioid use disorder (TxMOUD) program. SHOUT was influenced by the work of the Dell Seton Medical Center buprenorphine team, which helps patients with opioid use disorder, according to SHOUT Texas’ website. Buprenorphine is an opioid used to treat OUD, acute pain and chronic pain, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Dell Seton Medical Center is the first hospital in Texas to start an interprofessional technique to identify individuals with opioid use disorder, begin buprenorphine therapy, connect patients to further addiction care at discharge, and supply education and stigma reduction.

SHOUT Texas manager Alanna Boulton said the program is in the process of expanding to hospitals in Austin, including Ascension Seton Medical Center and Ascension Seton Northwest Hospital.

Richard Bottner, SHOUT Texas director and an assistant professor in the department of internal medicine at Dell Medical School, said the program formally launched in 2020 and aims to spread knowledge about the best medical practices for substance and opioid use disorders to Texas hospitals.
“The goal of SHOUT Texas is to take all of these lessons that we have learned over the last four years and to share those lessons with other hospitals and to provide consulting, technical assistance for those institutions so that they can do the same thing,” Bottner said.

Bottner said SHOUT Texas now has $1 million in Texas Health and Human Services Commission funding to further the program’s work, hire staff and provide funding to other hospitals.

SHOUT Texas offers free education for hospitals to help appropriately address opioid use disorder during hospitalization, according to the program’s website. This includes a webinar series, free modules about stigma reduction and virtual office hours with experts, according to the website.

Boulton said providing accessible treatment options to hospitals is important because acute hospitalization acts as an opportunity to reach patients and encourage them to seek further addiction care.

“It would be a lost opportunity … not to try to engage these patients in entering treatment and entering recovery because we have them and they’re there and they have access to all of those resources,” Boulton said. “They’re out of the triggering environment or their normal environment.”

Chris Moriates, a SHOUT Texas team member, said the interprofessional nature of the program helps allow the success of proper substance and opioid use disorder treatment during acute hospitalization.

“Starting treatment really requires tremendous partnership and work with people in the outpatient setting, which is what we’ve done,” said Moriates, assistant dean for health care value in the department of medical education at Dell Medical School.