Pines Health Services is a recipient of a $5.3 million federal grant aiming to take on the opioid crisis by improving medical care for pregnant women who have opioid use disorders. Credit: Courtesy of Pines Health Service

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Two health care providers with a County presence are among the recipients of a $5.3 million federal grant aiming to take on the opioid crisis by improving medical care for pregnant women who have opioid use disorders, Maine health officials said on Tuesday.

Northern Light Health and Pines Health Services are two of six partners that the Maine Department of Health and Human Services will collaborate with to improve care to opioid-affected mothers and their young children. Pines Health has facilities in Presque Isle, Caribou and Van Buren, while Northern Light has a presence in Presque Isle, Caribou, Mars Hill and Fort Fairfield, among other locations in the state.

Other facilities around the state that will participate include MaineGeneral Medical Center, MaineHealth, Mid Coast-Parkview Hospital and Penobscot Community Health Care.

Maine was one of 10 states picked by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to standardize the Maternal Opioid Misuse model nationwide.

“This award will bolster our aggressive response to the opioid crisis under the leadership of Governor Mills,” Maine DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew said. “Ensuring the health and well-being of mothers, children and families affected by opioid use disorder is key to our success.”

Maine will create a statewide system to treat women with substance use disorders through MaineCare, which primarily provides health coverage to low-income residents of the state.

Treatment will be provided to mothers with opioid use disorder during their pregnancies and postpartum. The program will also provide high-quality treatment for infants born from mothers with the condition.

By the third year of the program, DHHS hopes to create a “sustainable” way to continue funding the program through MaineCare, so that it can survive beyond the five-year timetable.

The County has substance abuse rates that transcend Maine’s statewide levels. Yet, in 2016, it had the lowest rate of substance abuse-related calls to the 2-1-1 medical resource hotline in the state.