St. Vincent Charity Medical Center mourns passing of ADAMHS CEO Valeria Harper

by Editor Friday, January 12, 2018


St. Vincent Charity Medical Center extends our deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Valeria Harper, chief executive officer at the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board. We are deeply saddened by the passing of Valeria on Wednesday, January 10.

“St. Vincent Charity Medical Center has worked with Valeria Harper for many years in her different roles at the ADAMHS board.  Her contributions to the field of mental health and addiction services are many.  Her leadership will be truly missed,” said Dr. David Perse, CEO of St. Vincent Charity Medical Center. 

Valeria was a tremendous asset to the residents of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, greatly helping those living with mental illness and recovering from addiction, as well as being an advocate for those whose voices needed to be heard.  She was a remarkable leader and friend,” said Sister Judith Ann Karam, CSA, congregational leader of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine.

Valeria recently said, “When we come together, we can make greatness happen.” She lived this motto every day, and we couldn’t agree with her more.

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, Legal Aid Partner to Improve Health of Addiction, Psychiatric Patients

by Editor Monday, October 16, 2017

(OCTOBER 16, 2017) – St. Vincent Charity Medical Center and The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland have launched a medical legal partnership (MLP), providing free, on-site services to resolve civil legal issues that impact the overall health of addiction and psychiatric patients. St. Vincent Charity’s MLP program is the first of its kind in Ohio to focus solely on the needs of those in treatment for behavioral health and addiction diseases.

“At St. Vincent Charity, we are committed to not only treating the current symptoms that bring patients into our hospital, but working to improve their long-term overall health and quality of life,” said Dr. David Perse, president and CEO of St. Vincent Charity.  “This MLP provides an integrated approach to address the legal barriers that negatively impact a person’s health so we can improve the well-being of those in our community.”

Through a two-year $260,000 grant from the Jones Day Foundation, a full-time Legal Aid attorney will partner with St. Vincent Charity clinicians, case workers, patient navigators and other care givers to both prevent and remedy the many health-harming factors that have their roots in legal problems. In the first year alone, it is estimated that the program will assist 175 patients and their family members through 75 legal cases.

“Due to lower incomes and the stigma attached to their disease, so many of our patients face health disparities that create an ongoing cycle of emergent health care needs and hospital stays. Our patients truly suffer from this downward social drift,” said Dr. Albana Dreshaj, medical director, St. Vincent Charity Psychiatric Emergency Department.  “Many don’t know there is help available in the community or where to go to find it. The MLP places an attorney right here in the hospital to work side by side with caregivers and social workers to help our patients break down these barriers.”

To implement the program, Legal Aid conducted thorough training with hospital care givers to effectively screen and identify patients with complicating legal issues and refer them to the Legal Aid attorney, Michael Russell, for assistance. Russell will work two days a week on-site at the hospital to personally meet with patients, and the balance of time working on cases with Legal Aid colleagues to utilize all Legal Aid’s resources to help resolve issues on patients’ behalf.     

“Legal Aid is focused on being available where and when low-income and vulnerable people need help with a legal issue,” said Melanie Shakarian, Esq., spokesperson for Legal Aid.  “Being embedded at St. Vincent Charity will help patients with legal issues related to housing, unsafe family dynamics, with environmental threats, or job and food insecurity.  These people need legal counsel, but without an attorney, health outcomes will be adversely affected.”

An estimated 40 percent of the nearly 4,000 patients – nearly 72 percent of which are low income - treated at St. Vincent Charity’s geriatric and adult psychiatric units are in need of immediate legal help to remove barriers that stand in the way of improved health.  In addition, nearly 60 percent of those patients are diagnosed with co-occurring substance abuse.

The Legal Service Corporation, based in Washington D.C., documents the vast majority of low-income individuals in the United States have 2 to 3 unmet civil legal needs that create barriers to healthy eating, healthy housing, employment and safety.  Studies of other MLP’s across the country demonstrate a reduction in the frequency of hospital admissions for those with chronic diseases, improved compliance by patients related to prescribed medications, decreased patient stress and reduced costs of health care services.

As part of St. Vincent’s MLP, $40,000 of the two-year grant is designated for research conducted by Cleveland State’s Center for Behavioral Health Sciences, to measure program and patient outcomes.


About St. Vincent Charity Medical Center:

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center is Cleveland’s faith-based, high-quality health care provider. Our distinguished doctors and caregivers are devoted to treating every patient with clinical excellence and compassionate care. St. Vincent Charity Medical Center is home to the renowned Spine and Orthopedic Institute and the Center for Bariatric Surgery. Owned by the Sisters of Charity Health System, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center provides Care Beyond Medicine. For more information, visit 

Media Contact: Rebecca Gallant, Office: 216.696.8408, Cell: 216.288.0239, 

St. Vincent Charity Offers Free Uber Transportation for Rosary Hall Addiction Patients

by Editor Monday, July 24, 2017

CLEVELAND, OHIO (JULY 24, 2017) – St. Vincent Charity Medical Center has launched a pilot program offering free Uber transportation for addiction patients participating in Rosary Hall’s Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). The program creates greater access to those seeking treatment for addiction, including opioid and alcohol, and increases a patient’s chances for success.

“We know one thing with certainty – Rosary Hall’s intensive treatment program works. However, it only works if patients are able to make every session and receive the support necessary to continue their journey toward recovery,” said Dr. Ted Parran, associate medical director of Rosary Hall. “For so many of our addiction patients, financial challenges and a means of reliable transportation present major obstacles, which often cause a patient to relapse or drop out of their recovery program.” 

St. Vincent Charity’s new pilot provides individualized transportation utilizing a proprietary HIPAA-compliant, digital platform developed by Circulation that connects Uber with patients and care providers to bring patients to IOP Treatment at Rosary Hall.

“Because of their addiction, whether from alcohol or opioids, many of our patients have lost their driver’s license, their car and even their job. Bus transportation alone to IOP appointments can mean up to $25 per week in bus fare and countless hours in transport time,” said Orlando Howard, Rosary Hall’s manager of outpatient treatment services. “This program removes that hurdle and gets our patients quickly to where they need to be, when they need to be there and at no cost to them.”

On average, 62 percent of patients successfully complete the five-month IOP at St. Vincent’s Rosary Hall.  Lack of access to affordable, reliable, convenient transportation is the most frequent reason cited during patient assessments for those who drop out of the program.

Since launching in mid-June, 11 patients have enrolled in the program and have scheduled 156 rides to St. Vincent Charity for patient assessments and treatment sessions. Patients participating in the program have maintained a 100 percent attendance rate for all assessment and treatment appointments. In the 30 days prior to launching the transportation program, Rosary Hall logged 76% client participation in IOP and 62% client participation in individual counseling sessions.

Providing greater access to mental health and addiction services was targeted as a top priority for St. Vincent Charity in its 2017 Community Benefit Plan. Recognizing the transportation challenges of addiction patients, particularly for those in IOP, St. Vincent Charity analyzed model programs across the country to identify a low-cost, convenient and less time-consuming mode of transportation for patients.  

IOP treatment, which frequently follows a 3 to 5 day in-patient detox, requires patients to attend four weekly, three hour sessions, in addition to individual counseling sessions, during the first five weeks.  After completing the IOP, patients then participate in the non-intensive program for 1.5 hours, one day per week for 8 to 12 weeks.

Rosary Hall is currently collaborating with three area sober living houses to provide transportation to their residents as part of the pilot program, including: the Julie Adams House; Lifehouse; and Back to Basics. 

With the opioid epidemic already claiming 666 lives in the first six months of the year, St. Vincent Charity plans to quickly expand the program to additional sober living houses once the pilot is complete. Additional revenue sources are being sought to support an expanded program.

Founded in 1952, Rosary Hall has been at the forefront of treating alcoholism and drug dependency for more than 64 years. Its founder, Sister Ignatia Gavin CSA, worked hand-in-hand with Dr. Robert Smith, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, to establish St. Vincent Charity as the first religious institution to recognize the rights of alcoholics to receive hospital treatment in Cleveland. Rosary Hall’s innovative efforts are fueled by decades of proven experience in treating more than 60,000 men and women, and by the compassionate care that is the hallmark of St. Vincent Charity.


About St. Vincent Charity Medical Center:

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center is Cleveland’s faith-based, high-quality health care provider. Our distinguished doctors and caregivers are devoted to treating every patient with clinical excellence and compassionate care. St. Vincent Charity Medical Center is home to the renowned Spine and Orthopedic Institute and the Center for Bariatric Surgery. Owned by the Sisters of Charity Health System, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center provides Care Beyond Medicine. For more information, visit 


Media Contact: Rebecca Gallant, Office: 216.696.8408, Cell: 216.288.0239, 

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center joins U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown in stand against ACA repeal bill

by Editor Sunday, June 25, 2017

On Sunday, June 25, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) hosted a press conference at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center to stand against the Senate’s draft bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The repeal bill eliminates Medicaid expansion and includes additional cuts to Medicaid, a vital tool in addressing the opioid addiction crisis in Ohio. 

The press conference, which was attended by WKYC-TV, The Plain Dealer and WKSU, featured testimony from Senator Brown, Sister Judith Ann Karam CSA, congregational leader of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, Dr. Ted Parran Jr., associate medical director of Rosary Hall and patient advocate Brittany Shartz, among others.  

“This issue is right at the core of who we are as a Catholic hospital and as a hospital right in the heart of the city. The reason St. Vincent Charity Medical Center is here is to provide health care to the people in this community, there is no greater need than providing access to care,” Sister Judith Ann Karam CSA said during the press conference. “There is no debate, health care is a basic right. It is directly related to the dignity of the human being. Who would have ever thought we would be in this position again today where we would have to fight for health care access for the people of the United States.”

[Read the Sisters of Charity Health System's statement on the proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act.]

More than 220,000 Ohioans with addiction or mental health disorders now have coverage under the Affordable Care Act. A repeal would kick those people off of their insurance, potentially disrupting treatment services for hundreds of thousands of Ohioans as they are fighting for their lives. 

Ohio spent nearly $1 billion dollars to fight the opioid epidemic last year alone, with 70 percent of this investment coming directly from Medicaid. The proposed Senate bill would end Medicaid expansion and replace it with just $2 billion to address the opioid crisis across the entire country over ten years. Experts have said that even a $45 billion investment won’t work. This money would be insufficient and therefore, useless if Ohio doesn’t have a Medicaid program to get people covered. 

“There have been tremendous strides toward adequate resources to address this epidemic such as the expansion of Medicaid and aspects of the Affordable Care Act,” Parran said. “It’s absolutely essential for those people with limited means, who are typically working people ineligible for Medicaid, to receive adequate care for their medical problems, behavioral health problems and most especially their addiction issues. That’s’ why it’s so essential to maintain this access and not to move backwards.” 

Rosary Hall is recognized across Ohio and nationally for its leadership and expertise in addressing the opioid addiction epidemic with a comprehensive, evidence-based approach that has far greater success rates than disparate treatment options for addiction. 

In a typical year, Rosary Hall serves approximately 2,000 individuals.  

One of those individuals is Brittany Shartz. Despite growing up in a typical middle-class family, Shartz began to struggle with mental illness and depression at the young age of 13. Even with strong support from her family, Shartz’s depression and mental health issues led to experimentation with drugs and self-medication. 

Upon moving out of her family’s home at the age of 18, she fell in the familiar cycle of getting sober, relapsing, getting sober and relapsing again. 

“I moved out and I worked but I could never afford health insurance. People are always going to pick what is most important to them, so I was always going to choose rent before health insurance,” Shartz says of that period of her life. “Next it was getting car insurance. Health insurance is typically the first thing people pick to get rid of when money gets tight.” 

It wasn’t until Shartz entered Rosary Hall for treatment for her addiction to opioids that she learned about Medicaid from St. Vincent Charity Medical Center staff and was able to receive health care coverage that would start her on a path to sobriety. 

“Every single part of my recovery revolves around Medicaid, except for my self-motivation,” Shartz said during the press conference. 

Today, Shartz is a mother and works as a detox coach at Rosary Hall. 

To learn more about Rosary Hall and St. Vincent Charity Medical Center’s vision for the future of treatment of opioid addiction, click here.   

Rosary Hall offering a free educational session on addiction

by Editor Thursday, December 22, 2016

Does a loved one use heroin, pain pills, marijuana, alcohol or other drugs? If so, there is help and there is hope. If you are concerned, plan to attend our FREE educational sessions held the second and fourth Saturday of the month, beginning January 14, 2017.

Addiction is a brain disease that can be treated. Our educational sessions, held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Rosary Hall, located on the second floor of the West Administration Building on the St. Vincent Charity campus, will help families better understand addiction.

Complimentary parking is available. Lunch is NOT included, but is available in the hospital cafeteria.

Registration is required. Please call Joyce Pleasant at 216-363-2609 or 216-363-2580 ext. 4 to register. You can also email


Register now for SVCMC Opiate Conference

by Editor Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The opiate epidemic in Northeast Ohio and across the United States continues unabated. The Cuyahoga County Coroner reported recently that August was the deadliest month with 52 deaths from overdoses of heroin, fentanyl and now, carfentanil, which is an elephant sedative 100 times more potent than fentanyl and 2500 times the potency of heroin. Through August, there have been 330 deaths from overdoses in Cuyahoga County, up from 228 for all of 2015. St. Vincent Charity Medical Center is sponsoring an Opiate Conference on Thursday, Sept. 29th at the Hilton Garden Inn on Carnegie Avenue. Hear from experts and those working on the frontlines of this epidemic. Cost is $35 per person and includes CEU opportunities. The event is open to the public.

Register Now



St. Vincent Charity Addiction Medicine Fellowship Receives Accreditation by ABAM Foundation

by Editor Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Eight Addiction Medicine Fellowship Programs Accredited by ABAM Foundation

Total Programs Accredited by American Board of Addiction Medicine Foundation Now Stands at 18

The American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM) Foundation today announced the accreditation of eight addiction medicine fellowship programs, bringing the total number of accredited programs to 18. Physicians who complete an ABAM Foundation fellowship are eligible to sit for the ABAM certification examination in order to become board certified in addiction medicine. More...