The Firefly Program

The Tennessee Department of Health reports that opioid use disorder is an extreme threat to mothers in the state. Of the 62 pregnant or post-partum women who died in 2019, approximately 20 of them had a substance use disorder. The health department reported that 81 percent of those deaths could have been prevented. When learning of that report, one physician said that Tennessee does not have many programs targeting pregnant and post-partum women with an opioid use disorder.

Enter Firefly- a partnership between the Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), TennCare (the state Medicaid program), and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which combines prenatal and postpartum care with treatment for opioid use disorder to pregnant and postpartum women and their infants. The program, started in early 2021, is free.

Firefly provides well-coordinated, high-quality care to pregnant and post-partum women, allowing them to enter recovery and focus on their health and that of their infant all under one roof – the Women’s Health Clinic at VUMC. Using the Maternal Opioid Misuse (MOM) model (, the program consists of interdisciplinary teams that deliver services, including peer recovery support;  lactation consults; obstetric, pediatric, and psychiatric physician services; medication for addiction treatment; and wraparound services such as childcare, nurse home visitation, early intervention services, and food bank access.

Firefly is named after one of Tennessee’s three state insects. It symbolizes hope and inspiration that will “light a path for pregnant and postpartum women in recovery and their families.”

For more information about Firefly, click here