The City of Sequim will recruit a clinical social services navigator for the soon-to-be-finished medication-assisted treatment (MAT) clinic, according to a Memorandum of Understanding between the city and Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe. For three years, the tribe will pay the city $100,000 annually toward the program. (Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe)

The City of Sequim will recruit a clinical social services navigator for the soon-to-be-finished medication-assisted treatment (MAT) clinic, according to a Memorandum of Understanding between the city and Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe. For three years, the tribe will pay the city $100,000 annually toward the program. (Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe)

Sequim, tribe agree to MAT navigator partnership

Position to be filled by March

SEQUIM — The City of Sequim and the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe have entered into a memorandum of understanding that allows city staff to begin recruitment for a clinical social services navigator for the tribe’s medication-assisted treatment clinic on South Ninth Avenue.

The 16,806-square-foot Jamestown Healing Clinic will tentatively open in March. Once open, doctors will dispense daily doses of methadone, Suboxone and Vivitrol for patients with opioid-use disorder while offering wrap-around services such as dental and general health care, behavioral services and child care.

Sequim City Council members unanimously agreed to the contract on Jan. 10. The tribe agreed to provide $100,000 annually for three years to the city to conduct services through the Sequim Police Department.

Sequim Police Chief Sheri Crain said at the Jan. 10 meeting that it follows a ruling from the city’s then-appointed hearing examiner Phil Olbrechts for an appeal of the project.

She said his findings led to the navigator process.

“(The tribe) provides the funding, and we figure out how to do a navigator,” Crain said.

“(You are) authorizing to accept the money,” she told city council members, “and go forward with a (Request for Proposals).”

According to the memorandum, a navigator will “connect persons in Sequim to community resources that may be needed to address social, medical, and behavioral health challenges.”

This person will “engage clients, assess and identify client needs, assist and refer clients, and track referrals and services utilized by clients,” the agreement states.

Through their efforts, city and tribal leaders hope the position does the following:

• Reduce law enforcement responses involving persons in crisis or dealing with drug addiction who are engaged by the navigator for services;

• Improve behavioral health conditions of persons engaged by the navigator;

• Improve public safety and public order;

• Improve connection to appropriate health and social services; and,

• Reduce likelihood of criminal justice system involvement by persons engaged by the navigator.

City staff must hire the position no later than March 1. The position also will submit detailed quarterly and annual reports to both entities, including elements such as the number of individuals engaged by the navigator, the number who left the facility without completing treatment and the number of individuals requiring transportation to the clinic.

Recruitment continues for a city resident to join a mandated advisory committee that Olbrechts said must “develop a monitoring and evaluation program for the clinic and to develop a contingency plan to identify corrective measures if the clinic causes impacts to public services through increased demands on law enforcement and other emergency services.”

Clallam County Sheriff Bill Benedict, council member William Armacost and Loni Grinnell-Greninger, Jamestown’s Tribal council vice chair, formed a subcommittee to determine the community seat.

________

Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].

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