Partnership with Safe Communities Now Helping
Expectant Mothers
“Recovery Coach” Expands within
SSM Health
Partnership with Safe Communities Now Helping Expectant Mothers dealing with substance abuse

MADISON, WI (March 13, 2018) – SSM Health and Safe Communities of Madison - Dane County have formed a first-of-its kind collaboration to help more patients
struggling with addiction. The “Pregnancy2Recovery” (P2R) program focuses on obstetrics patients dealing with substance abuse, mainly opioid addiction. They’re
connected with “recovery coaches” who have been through a similar experience in the past.

The program is modeled after the ED2Recovery program currently in place at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital - Madison. ED2Recovery guides individuals into
treatment shortly after experiencing a medical emergency from an opioid overdose. On-call recovery coaches from Safe Communities meet with the patients in the
emergency department, and then work hand-in-hand with them throughout the recovery journey. Since the inception of the ED2Recovery program, there has been
close to a 90-percent success rate at getting individuals who present to emergency departments due to overdose into a treatment program. Coaches support the
person daily until they begin treatment.   

Pregnancy2Recovery works in a similar way. SSM Health obstetrics providers in Dane County identify at-risk patients and offer them the opportunity to meet with a
recovery coach. The coaches, certified through the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery Program, encourage and help women get on Medication Assisted
Treatment (MAT) as early as possible. They also connect mothers to treatment resources and community services to help them navigate the challenges that come
with having a newborn who is going through withdrawal. Perhaps most importantly, the coaches develop a relationship with a person going through something they
once went through.

“People struggling with substance dependence need hope and an environment free of stigma,” says Tanya Kraege, Recovery Coach supervisor with Safe
Communities.  “Coaches understand the shame, guilt and embarrassment associated with substance use and have been able to successfully work through these
feelings in their recovery and understand what it was like to be in the positions that many people with substance find themselves. The goal of the coach is to walk
side by side with the person they are helping and say ‘I am here, I understand, and I want to help you.’”

The program is not only the first in the state, but is also the only known pilot program of its kind in the nation. It addresses a health need that seems to be growing.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration says from 2000 to 2009, the use of opioids during pregnancy increased from 1.19 to 5.63 per 1,000
hospital births.  
“Recovery is hard enough to seek help for when struggling with substance dependence,” said Dr. Gary
Waters, OB/GYN division chief with SSM Health Dean Medical Group. “When a woman finds out she is
pregnant and has a dependence on substances, it is especially difficult. If she ceases opioid use, she
can lose the fetus. Inconsistent use and experiencing withdrawal off and on can put stress on the fetus.
The best possible outcome for mother and infant is to get on Medication Assisted Treatment as early as
possible, have coordination of care between providers and treaters, access to resources, education
on the birth plan and connection to their communities.”

About Safe Communities

Safe Communities ( is a local, 20-year old nonprofit coalition of over 300
partners working together to save lives, prevent injuries and make our community safer.   

About SSM Health in Wisconsin

SSM Health ( is a Catholic, not-for-profit health system serving the
comprehensive health needs of communities across the Midwest through a robust and fully integrated
health care delivery system. The organization’s more than 40,000 employees and physicians are
committed to providing exceptional health care services and revealing God’s healing presence to
everyone they serve.

In Wisconsin, SSM Health employs 14,000 people, serving the south-central part of the state through a
community-based network of leading physicians/providers, and inpatient and outpatient care facilities.
The organization provides high-quality coordinated care across seven hospitals, ten post-acute care
facilities, and more than 85 physician offices and other outpatient care sites. SSM Health also serves
425,000 lives through Dean Health Plan, making it one of the largest and most diversified HMOs in the
Midwest, and serves more than 4.5 million people across 34 states through Navitus, a pharmacy
benefit management services company.