SPRINGFIELD — Dr. Paul Bonucci, Perry Memorial Prompt Care and IVCH Emergency Department medical director, recently served as an expert panelist for the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network’s 2017 Rural Health Summit: "The Opioid Crisis Next Door” conference, held at the Crowne Plaza, Springfield, and attended by about 125 physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, mental health and behavioral health therapists, pharmacists, dentists, policy makers, public health, law enforcement, and community coalition members.
This conference provided education on the initial care and treatment of persons with substance use disorders, options for recovery and management of patients with chronic pain, and also to encourage dialogue among providers on best practices and challenges of treating individuals in local communities.
An authorized buprenorphine prescriber and treating physician to opiate-dependent patients since 2013, Bonucci earned his MD at Northwestern University and has an MBA from the University of Chicago. He completed his residency at Cook County Hospital and is board certified in emergency medicine. In addition to serving as the emergency department medical director at Illinois Valley Community Hospital in Peru since 2009, he also founded an urgent care center in Princeton in 2011, which was acquired by Perry Memorial Hospital in 2016.
Bonucci was joined by Dr. Nirav D. Shah, JD, director, Illinois Department of Public Health; Dr. Elizabeth Salisbury-Afshar, MPH, FAAFP, FASAM, Chicago Department of Public Health; Dr. Michael Blain, Eldorado Rural Health Clinic; Dr. John A. Peterson, medical director of chronic pain management, Danville Veterans Administration Hospital; Garry Moreland, RPh, co-owner, Moreland and Devitt Pharmacy, and chief pharmacist, Culbertson Memorial Hospital, Rushville; Kevin VanKanegan, DDS, clinical program director, Midwestern University, College of Dental Medicine-Illinois, Downers Grove; Thomas Huggett, MD, MPH, medical director of mobile health, Lawndale Christian Health Center; Stacy Sattovia, MD, MBA, associate professor of clinical medicine, hospitalist, associate vice chair of clinical operations, Department of Internal Medicine, medical director, Office of Continuing Professional Development, SIU School of Medicine; and Jeanne Holdren, APRN, adult psychiatric-mental health clinical nurse specialist, behavioral health medicine, Clay County Hospital, Flora.
The event was supported by the Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois Health and Hospital Association, Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network, SIU Medicine Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development, and the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program.
The third in a series, the Rural Health Summit began with the organization of coalitions throughout the state, followed by another workshop on building strategies, and now, prevention, care and treatment programs for opioid use and other substance use disorders. This grassroots effort was organized in an effort to increase awareness of the rapidly growing problem of opioid and heroin use in rural communities and particularly, the lack of community response; create community engagement and assist in the formation of coalitions throughout the state dedicated to the fight against opioid abuse and heroin use; and collaborate with legislators and policy-makers to allocate immediate funding for treatment centers in rural communities. Illinois State Representative Lashawn Ford, 8thh District, Chicago, participated in the event on March 29.
The next conference is anticipated to be held in June and will focus on each of the new coalitions’ progress. Funding for the Rural Health Summit was provided in part by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a Rural Hospital Flexibility Program grant. To become involved in this effort, contact Pat Schou, ICAHN executive director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 815-875-2999.