New Training Program Will Enable 31 Heatlh Centers Statewide to Initiate
Treatment on the Spot
Placerville, CA (February 14, 2019)– Marshall Medical Center is among 31 health facilities selected from across
the state to participate in the California Bridge Program, an accelerated
training program for healthcare providers facilitated by the Public Health
Institute’s Bridge program to enhance access to around-the-clock
treatment for substance use disorders. Program sites will receive funding,
training, and technical assistance to improve and increase access to facility-wide
treatment and referral of acute symptoms of substance use disorders. The
Bridge program is funded through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Services Administration (SAMHSA) State Targeted Response to the Opioid
Crisis Grant to the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS).
“Locally, in El Dorado County, there are about a dozen deaths a year
due to opioid abuse and overdose. Many more people will require emergency
care and hospitalization due to overdose,” according to James Whipple,
Marshall Medical Center administrator and CEO.
A referral to an addiction treatment program has been the most that hospitals
have generally been able to provide for patients identified as needing
treatment for opioid use disorder. The Bridge model treats emergency rooms
and acute care hospitals as a critical window for initiating treatment.
When patients in opioid withdrawal come seeking medical care, including
for reasons not related to opioid use, they will be offered a dose of
medication such as buprenorphine to ease severe symptoms of withdrawal,
and then they will be connected with outpatient treatment in the community.
Studies have shown that patients given this option of medication designed
for addiction treatment are more likely to remain in care than those who
are given referral information alone.
“By suppressing withdrawal long enough to create a bridge for patients
to enter and remain in treatment, physicians can save lives,” said
Andrew Herring, MD, Director of Emergency Department Services for the
Bridge program. “We know this model works, and now we are bringing
it to hospitals and emergency rooms all across the state that are anxious
for real solutions to address the enormous pain and suffering they see
every day caused by the opioid epidemic.”
The 18-month California Bridge training program, with funding from the
California Department of Health Care Services and Substance Abuse and
Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), aims to ensure that any
interaction a patient has with the healthcare system can be a potential
opportunity to enter into treatment. It approaches substance use disorder
as a treatable chronic illness—creating an environment that welcomes
disclosure of opioid use, provides rapid evidence-based treatment, and
enables patients to enter and remain in treatment.
There will be three types of sites in the California Bridge program: Star
Sites, centers of excellence for initiating treatment of substance use
disorders from anywhere in the hospital; Rural Bridge Sites, where treatment
will begin primarily in the emergency department with the support of substance
use navigators; and Bridge Clinics, ‘low-threshold’ follow-up
clinics patients can visit after starting treatment in the hospital setting.
ABOUT THE BRIDGE PROGRAM
Bridge, a program of the Public Health Institute, is establishing a culture
of evidence-based medicine to treat substance use disorders through an
accelerated training program for healthcare providers that supports, enhances,
and increases access to 24/7 treatment in every community. Though California
ranks only 37th in the country for prescription opioid deaths, the death rates in 16 rural
California counties are high enough to put them in the top 10 for the
whole nation, and overdoses by synthetic opioids were up 44 percent in
California in 2017.
Learn more about what Marshall is doing for substance use disorder: