The CA Bridge program creates vital access points for addiction treatment.

Hospital emergency departments bridge patients to life-saving addiction treatment. They are uniquely positioned to provide access and improve the delivery system because they are:

  • The ultimate safety net. Emergency departments are visible, easily accessible, and often near public transportation.

  • The only setting able to offer all-hours access, acute psychiatric stabilization, same-day treatment, and navigation to ongoing care.

  • A critical connection for patients to services such as shelters and community treatment programs.

Hospitals implementing the CA Bridge program are serving tens of thousands of patients.

patients seen for substance use disorders
patients identified with opioid use disorders
patients provided with buprenorphine

Providing life-saving medicine to people who need it most.

In the past two years, using our Guide to Naloxone Distribution:

  • 146 California hospital EDs placed orders to the DHCS Naloxone Distribution Program

  • 129,120 units of free, take-home naloxone distributed to patients and the community through hospital EDs

Our goal is universal access to addiction treatment in all hospital emergency departments.

In 2018, the CA Bridge program began with just eight hospitals and today has expanded to 155. By the end of 2023, we aim to see all hospital emergency departments treating opioid use disorder.

Hospitals with CA Bridge Programs

More hospitals treating addiction equals more impact.

Treating mental illness and substance use disorders can be expensive. Yet, the marginal costs of addressing these conditions in the hospital are low because the facilities are already in place. Treating opioid addiction is cost-effective when considering savings in health care and criminal justice costs. If treatment were available in all California hospitals, each year an estimated 12,100 people could be retained in treatment, generating savings of $786.5 million in health care and criminal justice costs over the lifetime of these individuals.*

This projection is based on original CA Bridge project data from 51 hospitals, representing 21% of all the hospital beds in the state. These hospitals connected 1,694 patients to addiction treatment in a four-month period which translates to 5,082 annually. Scaling these services up to all hospitals in the state would result in a five-fold increase to 24,200 patients annually. Based on the literature, approximately 50% of these patients will be retained in care, or 12,100. If we assume an average lifetime cost savings of $65,000 for each person retained in care, it generates $786.5 million in lifetime savings each year.

CA Bridge Program Impact Report (2018-2021)

We’ve made incredible strides throughout the state, as we’ve partnered with California acute care hospitals to save thousands of lives. This Impact Report marks the beginning of a long journey that will lead to more extraordinary accomplishments. In this moment of bleakness and burnout, we remain hopeful and committed to the work. Evidence-based addiction treatment must become the standard of care. We are just getting started.

Behavioral Health Pilot Project Impact Report (2021-2022)

The Behavioral Health Pilot Project provided $20 million in funding from the California Department of Health Care Services to over 200 hospitals in California to hire a behavioral health navigator. CA Bridge supported grantees to hire and train navigators, increasing access to medication for addiction treatment in hospital EDs and connecting patients to follow-up treatment for substance use disorder and mental health conditions.

Hopsital Impact

More than a number: Changing health systems and lives

Hospitals need to be part of the solution.

“I want to express our gratitude and admiration for the work that has been done by your team. Your documents and protocols are truly amazing and are making it possible for us to adopt protocols much more quickly than we thought possible…”

– Stacy, UC San Diego Health
Patients need our help.

“I’m loving life again and I am so grateful for your help. If there is some kind of survey I can do for the excellent help you gave me I would love to be a part of it to make sure the program is continued. I honestly wouldn’t be here thriving today if you wouldn’t have met me at the hospital.”

– Patient note to her substance use navigator at Dignity Health

“I arrived at Dignity Health, a broken shadow of my true self, the epitome of reprehensible demoralization after having struggled with addiction for the better part of 15 years. My experience with the hospital and its staff, particularly Lisa, the substance use navigator, was one full of compassion and empathy. I was treated with respect, kindness, and understanding even though I could seldom muster such traits towards myself. Now I am a far cry from the shell of a man I was when I arrived at Methodist. Sometimes in life, we all need that nudge in the right direction. I am happy Lisa was there to give me mine.” ”

– Patient at Dignity Health, Methodist in Sacramento

“I am a recovering addict. I was introduced to CA Bridge, the best program for helping addicts get on a fast track to recovery with advice and positive direction. From the first day that I spoke to Rebecca [navigator] until the day I was notified of placement in a residential location, she was always doing what she could to help me get through. If it wasn’t for her caring, compassionate and outgoing personality, I might have given up on waiting for a bed. So for her A+ spirit, I vouch for, and hands-down recommend, Rebecca as the most valuable person in the Bridge program.”

– Patient at St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley

“You guys were my first stop on my long road to recovery. From the gatekeeper RN outside to the security guard who told my probation officer to wait in the car, to the women who handled my paperwork, to the triage nurse, to the ER nurse, to the doctor who didn’t belittle me, to the wonderful woman who set up my follow up appointment with a Suboxone doctor—you all treated me with a level of dignity and respect that I hadn’t felt in a very, very long time. You made eye contact when you spoke to me, you didn’t talk about me like I wasn’t there, you showed me kindness when I needed it the most… And now, I have completed a 5-day detox and am on week 3 of the residential program and I couldn’t be better. I have no intention of ever sliding back and am doing everything in my power to make sure I have the tools and healthy support system necessary to succeed.”

– Patient at Mercy Medical Center in Redding