The Wright Center, Kolcharno Presents at Meeting

Members News

Maria Kolcharno, LSW, director of addiction services and leader of the Healthy Maternal Opiate Medical Support (MOMS) program at The Wright Center for Community Health, recently outlined the novel program to participants at the Pennsylvania Perinatal Quality Collaborative Virtual Meeting.

Kolcharno addressed the importance of collaborative relationships for making referrals and establishing communication pathways between OB/GYN and medication-assisted treatment providers to coordinate patient care for mothers with substance use disorder.

“In 2016, The Wright Center began a journey to offer opiate use disorder treatment. When it started, there was a large influx of pregnant women with substance use disorder coming into the program,” Kolcharno said. “Our leadership team looked at how we can better serve people who have so many needs. They were not coming in just for counseling. They were experiencing food insecurity, lack of safe housing, and they weren’t receiving the medical care they needed. Our Healthy MOMS program grew from the needs of the women in our community.”

During the event’s breakout session, Kolcharno provided workflow charts to assist organizations looking to replicate the relationships and processes the Healthy MOMS program has established with maternity care times and medical Centers of Excellence.

Part of that process involved visiting birth hospitals to meet with labor and delivery nurses and doctors to introduce them to the Healthy MOMS program. “The biggest part was talking about the stigma of being a mother with a substance use disorder and being pregnant. It’s two things people never want to hear together – pregnant and addicted to a substance,” said Kolcharno.

The labor and delivery staffs were open about their feelings for treating the patient population and the ways in which they can offer support to the new mothers. Out of these conversations, a small, but effective tool, was designed by providers: A Healthy MOMS pin. According to Kolcharno, when mothers in the program see the pin, they know the nurses are an extension of the Healthy MOMS program that has become an integral part of their lives.

Part of The Wright Center’s Opioid Use Disorder Center of Excellence, the Healthy MOMS program was co-founded with multiple agencies to assist women who are pregnant and have a substance use disorder. Healthy MOMS provides prenatal, perinatal, and postpartum care, including medication-assisted treatment to women coping with a substance use disorder, and strives to break the stigma associated with the disorder while building their self-esteem during and after their pregnancies, ideally engaging them in recovery support services. Currently there are 142 mothers active in the program, with 206 babies born through the program. Since its founding, more than 300 mothers have participated in the program.

The Pennsylvania Perinatal Quality Collaborative includes more than 60 birthing hospitals and newborn intensive care units and over 10 health plans across the state. Overall, the organization works to reduce maternal mortality and improve care for pregnant and postpartum women and newborns affected by opioids.

For more information about the Healthy MOMS program, call 570-995-7821 or text healthymoms to 555888. Information about the program and its partners is also available at Go to for information about the Opioid Use Disorder Center of Excellence.