California is improving access to mental health and substance use disorder services through emergency departments

Bridge Navigator Program Overview

CA Bridge is administering the CalBridge Behavioral Health Navigator Program (Bridge Navigator Program) to support emergency departments (EDs) to become primary access points for the treatment of substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions. Hospitals participating in the Bridge Navigator Program will address substance use disorder as a treatable medical emergency, utilizing trained navigators to identify patients who would benefit from initiating medication for addiction treatment (MAT) or mental health services. Through this program, the Department of Health Care Services aims to make treatment of substance use and mental health conditions the standard of care in all California EDs.

The Bridge Navigator Program will support hospital EDs to:

  • Hire or maintain an ED-based navigator
  • Identify, screen, interview, and link patients with substance use disorder and co-occurring mental health conditions to appropriate treatment
  • Educate providers about MAT
  • Build a stigma-free environment that welcomes disclosure of substance use and provides rapid, evidence-based treatment
  • Navigate patients with co-occurring mental health conditions to outpatient treatment

CA Bridge will provide all participating hospitals with access to materials, training, and technical assistance for navigators, clinicians, nurses, and other hospital staff and stakeholders.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

ELIGIBILITY

Who is eligible for funding?

All California acute care hospitals with emergency services (comprehensive, basic, or standby) as named in the California Health and Human Services Licensed Healthcare Facility Listing are eligible for funding.

My navigator is already a fully funded employee at the hospital. Does my hospital still qualify for this funding?

Yes, all California general acute care hospitals with emergency services (comprehensive, basic, or standby) are eligible for funding, regardless of existing funding for staff.  

My hospital has really small volumes of patients with OUD. Should I still apply for funding?

Yes, all California general acute care hospitals with emergency services (comprehensive, basic, or standby) are eligible for funding, regardless of volume of patients with OUD.

What happens if I still have BHPP funding to spend down? Should I delay applying for the Bridge Navigator Program? 

All California general acute care hospitals with emergency services are eligible for this funding. Hospitals should apply when their application materials are ready and they have met the requirement to be up-to-date on BHPP data submission.

APPLICATION

What is an “Applicant Entity”?

The Applicant Entity is the hospital, health system, hospital foundation, staffing agency, or other legal entity that is applying for funding and will contract with PHI/CA Bridge if funding is awarded.

We are running out of funds for the navigator. Can I send my RFA sooner?

You are welcome to submit as soon as you have all of the information and attachments ready.

What are the deliverables and deadlines?

The deliverables and deadlines are listed in the RFA. See Bridge Navigator Program Request for Applications (RFA).

Is the funding federal? 

Yes, the Bridge Navigator Program is federally funded.

Will I need a SAM registration?

Yes, you need to be registered with the System for Award Management (SAM) to have a subcontract with PHI/CA Bridge. For more information, please see Attachment 3: SAM/UEI Guidance.

Can I get funded if I don’t have a UEI or SAM registration?

PHI/CA Bridge cannot issue a subcontract without verification of the applicant’s UEI and SAM registration. For more information, please see Attachment 3: SAM/UEI Guidance.

If I am a hospital system applying for multiple hospital sites, how do I submit an application?

The first question on the sign-up page of the application asks “Which of the following best describes the Applicant Entity?” Select “Hospital System/Hospital Foundation” and later in the application you will be asked to provide information for each hospital site.

When should hospitals apply?

We are accepting and reviewing applications on a rolling basis. You should apply when you are ready. For more information on the timelines, please see the Bridge Navigator Program Request for Applications (RFA). (Added May 9th, 2022)

Who can be a clinical champion?

The MAT Clinical Champion is the individual leading the implementation of MAT at the hospital and should be a MD/DO, PA, or NP. (Added May 9th, 2022)

If I am not the Authorized Signatory and I selected “Confirm” next to the name of the Authorized Signatory, do I still need to click the “Submit” button?

If you are not the Authorized Signatory, the last step in the application process will be to click the check box next to “I am NOT the Authorized Signatory” and select “Confirm” next to the name of the Authorized Signatory. At that point, an automated email will be sent to the Authorized Signatory to review, sign, and submit the application. We recommend that you also reach out directly to the Authorized Signatory to let them know that they will receive an automated email from navigatorprogram@cabridge.org and should follow the instructions in the email. (Added May 16th, 2022)

NAVIGATOR ROLE

What qualifications should the navigator have?

We strongly recommend hospitals hire a navigator with lived experience, either from personal experience or that of a family member. However, a navigator can be a social worker, drug/alcohol counselor, or anyone motivated to do this work who has a passion for working with substance use disorder patients and harm reduction in the emergency room.

Can CA Bridge advocate for a standardized level of pay for navigators?

Please see the Navigator Hiring Guide for guidance on pay ranges for this position. We encourage you to research the salary of other patient navigators at your hospital and within your region. The CA Bridge team is also available to provide technical assistance on setting the salary for this position upon receiving your award. 

Can CA Bridge provide a sample navigator job description?

Yes, this Substance Use Navigator Job Description is available along with many other helpful resources on the CA Bridge program’s website. 

BUDGET & FUNDING

Can CA Bridge provide a sample budget?

The budget is very simple. Please see Attachment 1: Application Preview for the budget format and see Attachment 2: Application Guidance for instructions on preparing the budget.

Is the funding only to be used for the navigator’s salary?

No, the funds can be used for a variety of purposes to support the activities listed in the milestones and deliverables. Each hospital will provide a budget as part of the application detailing the planned use of funds.

What are allowable costs beyond salary and fringe?

Each hospital will provide a budget for $120,000. See Attachment 1: Application Guidance for more information. In the “Other Expenses” section, applicants can budget for items such as outreach materials, patient transportation vouchers, and other expenses needed to run a well-supported program.

Is funding the same for all hospitals?

Yes, subcontractors will receive $120,000 in total per hospital, divided into three payments that are contingent on meeting milestones and deliverables and submitting an invoice to CA Bridge. See Bridge Navigator Program Request for Applications (RFA).

How long do we have to spend the award?

The third milestone must be completed within one year of the subcontract start date.

What happens if we don’t spend the funds within the contract period?

As the subcontract will be a fixed-price, deliverables-based agreement, there will be no financial reporting requirements. 

Does my budget have to include the cost of the navigator?

The Bridge Navigator Program requires engagement of a Navigator for at least 0.5 FTE; however, you can use any source of funding to support the position. (Added May 9th, 2022)

APPLICATION REVIEW

What does it mean if my application is deferred?

If your application is incomplete and/or if any issues with the information in your application cannot be resolved by the close date of the round, your application may be deferred to a future round of funding. 

What is the application evaluation process?

We will select applicants that present complete and responsive applications demonstrating the following eligibility criteria. 

  • The application must be submitted by, or on behalf of, a hospital or hospitals in California.
  • Priority will be given to hospitals that did not previously receive funding through the BHPP.

When will I be notified of the results of my application? 

If you are eligible for funding and your application is complete, we plan to provide the notification of selection within six weeks of receipt of your application.  

CONTRACT PROCESS

Will there be a formal contract?

Yes, a subcontract will be executed between the Applicant Entity (hospital, health system, hospital foundation, staffing agency or other entity) and PHI/CA Bridge.

What type of contract will we receive? 

PHI/CA Bridge will issue a fixed-price, deliverables-based subcontract with a one-year term. 

MILESTONES & PAYMENT PROCESS

Who is responsible for reporting completion of the milestones?

Hospital teams should establish a workflow for monthly data submission and deliverables reporting at the six-month and twelve-month marks to remain in compliance with the Bridge Navigator Program requirements. We recommend that this administrative work be completed by a dedicated project coordinator, the navigator, or a dedicated team member who can liaise between the hospital team and the CA Bridge team. 

What is the payment process once milestones are met?

Once the subcontract is fully executed, the applicant will submit their first milestone report and invoice to navigatorprogram@cabridge.org. Once the milestone report is approved, the invoice will be submitted for processing and payment. For multi-hospital systems, payments will only be made for those hospitals whose milestone reports have been received and approved. 

Please note that the SAM registration needs to be complete before the subcontract can be executed. If you did not have SAM registration at the time of application, you must provide the SAM registration expiration date to navigatorprogram@cabridge.org upon receipt of SAM registration.

Where will the funds be sent?

Checks will be sent to the accounts receivable address provided by the funding application. If you want to opt-in to receive funds via direct deposit, you must email the W-9, Attachment 6: Authorization Agreement for Direct Deposit Form, and bank confirmation letter (See Attachment 5: Sample Bank Confirmation Letter) to payments@phi.org.

Application Hub

Access the online Application Portal, Request for Applications (RFA), related attachments, and materials below. Review all items before completing the application. If you have questions, contact navigatorprogram@cabridge.org

Request for Applications

Download and review the RFA (PDF) before applying.

Application Attachments

Review the attachments below for additional application details.

Bridge Navigator Program Information Session (Webinar)

Friday, May 13, 2022, at 12:00 PM (PST)

This session will be recorded and available to view after the event.

Learn about the Bridge Navigator Program and the application for funding. Dr. Aimee Moulin, CA Bridge Director, will provide an overview of the program. CA Bridge staff will present detailed information on the application process, with time at the end of the session for Q&A. Register here.