Custer Health looking to continue partnership with Heartview Foundation

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MANDAN, N.D. - Custer Health in Mandan and the Heartview Foundation in Bismarck partnered up to put a licensed addiction counselor during the hours of Custer Health’s needle exchange program. The partnership started in July, with a counselor being present one day a week. The goal was to offer treatment if people wanted it.

Now, the two sides hope the program can continue.

Custer Health says it is applying for a grant to continue the program. The grant is worth $39,894.

Speaking with the counselor isn't mandatory, which Heartview director Kurt Snyder says is a good thing to not pressure people into recovery. He says the partnership method could be effective in other areas of the state if they create needle exchange programs.

“When the science says something's effective in helping reduce diseases or to engage people in treatment, I'm all in and the evidence and the science behind needle exchange programs is very solid,” said Snyder.

Jodie Fetsch, the Director of Nursing at Custer Health, says the grant would run from October 1, 2019 to August 31, 2020. The grant would include nursing staff time to operate the Good Neighbor Project, travel, Face it Together, Heartview and advertising. Heartview and Custer Health have worked together with the SOR grant previously and want to continue this partnership.

Custer Health's funding for the program runs out at the end of the month.