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.

Substance Use Navigation
Identified with OUD
Medication for addiction treatment

Widespread systemic change saves lives.

Typically, patients do not receive addiction treatment in a health system, but in a CA Bridge program, 7 out of 10 people are treated and 4 out of 10 are connected to ongoing care. If all hospitals offered treatment, that would amount to tens of thousands of lives saved across the state.

7/10 patients treated
Patients linked to ongoing care

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 133. By the end of 2023, we aim to see all hospital emergency departments treating opioid use disorder.

Line Graph of CA Hospitals

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.

Hopsital Impact

More than a number: Changing health systems and lives

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
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