Groundbreaking Opioid Treatment Rollout to 22 More California Hospitals

New Training Program Will Now Enable 52 Hospitals Statewide to Initiate 24/7 Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT)

In August 2019, the California Bridge (CA Bridge) Program welcomed 22 additional hospitals to participate in the treatment of substance use disorder in their emergency rooms through a federally funded grant program. With these new awards, California Bridge extends its reach to 52 hospitals, serving 34 California counties. This progress provides critical support for more emergency rooms and acute care hospitals to initiate treatment as soon as possible, addressing life or death consequences of substance use disorders, particularly opioid use disorder, throughout the state.

CA Bridge, a program of the Public Health Institute, is an accelerated training program for healthcare providers, designed to support access to around-the-clock treatment for substance use disorders, urgently needed to confront the opioid epidemic. The CA Bridge model is a significant improvement from traditional hospital strategies that provide referrals but do not directly treat addiction like other life-threatening chronic illnesses. 

With an ambitious aim to transform treatment methods state-wide in the coming years, CA Bridge addresses the current gap in addiction treatment, which has not typically been available through medical care providers. Funded through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grant to the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), participating program sites receive allocated funding, training, and technical assistance to launch facility-wide treatment and referral for substance use disorders. 

Arianna Sampson, PA-C, a Co-Director of CA Bridge and APP Lead for US Acute Care Solutions at Marshall Medical Center ED in Placerville says, "We are proud that California is leading the way in creating seamless access to substance use disorders, particularly addressing the opioid crisis with evidence-based care. California has always been at the forefront of innovation and this transformative model will redefine medical approaches to treating addiction, both in urban and rural communities.”

In creating systems that truly meet the diverse needs of California state-wide, CA Bridge uses evidence-based medication for addiction treatment (MAT) interventions, such as buprenorphine, which lowers mortality sevenfold and is effective in sustaining recovery and reducing the morbidity of opioid use disorder (cited by the California Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians). Despite clear evidence of effectiveness, only a small percentage of people with opioid use disorder (OUD) receive MAT. Studies have shown that patients given MAT are twice as likely to remain in care for OUD than those who are given referral information alone (cited by the Yale School of Medicine).

“Addiction should be treated like any other disease,” said Aimee Moulin, MD, Co-Director of CA Bridge. “So we’re excited to see the cultural shift happening in hospitals and emergency rooms all across California and beyond.” CA Bridge works to ensure that any interaction a patient has with the healthcare system can effectively lead to identifying and treating addiction. By approaching substance use disorder as a treatable chronic illness, CA Bridge addresses the devastating consequences of the opioid epidemic and other life-threatening substance use disorders. Discover the full list of hospitals approved for funding here.

Participating Bridge Sites

Download the complete list of sites (XLSX)