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.

Hospital Award Update (as of 7/15/22)

The Bridge Navigator Program supports 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 provides 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)


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.

Are hospitals that previously received BHPP funding eligible for the Bridge Navigator Program?

Yes, hospitals that previously received the BHPP are eligible for funding through the Bridge Navigator Program as long as the hospital meets the other eligibility requirements. (Added May 19th, 2022)

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? 

Applicants should apply when their application materials are ready and they have met the requirement to be up-to-date on BHPP data submission.


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.

What is the best way to proceed if the ED would like to have an MAT program, but the hospital administration is lukewarm on having a navigator and is not interested in paying anything for the program. 

We encourage you to educate your hospital administration about the benefits of a navigator. We can provide you with resources to share with the executive team at your hospital that demonstrate how having a navigator can decrease readmissions and provide efficient and effective treatment to the community. Contact us at for support with this information. (Added May 19th, 2022)

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.

What is a SAM registration and do I need to get it? 

Registration with the federal System for Award Management (SAM) is a mechanism to confirm that an organization is eligible to receive federal funding. You must be registered with SAM to engage in a subcontract with PHI/CA Bridge for the Bridge Navigator Program. For multi-hospital applications, only the applicant entity needs to have a SAM registration. You can apply via SAM registration can be a time consuming process. Plan to start this process as soon as possible. Please see the detailed guidance on SAM registration for additional information. (Added May 19th, 2022)

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.

Does the Letter of Agreement language need to match the template provided on the Bridge Navigator Program landing page (Attachment 4: Letter of Agreement Template)?
Yes, please use the text provided in Attachment 4: Letter of Agreement Template. (Added May 24th, 2022)

When should hospitals apply?

We are accepting and reviewing applications as they are received. You should apply when you are ready. For more information on the timelines, please see the Bridge Navigator Program Request for Applications (RFA). (Added June 2nd, 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 an MD/DO, PA, or NP. (Added May 9th, 2022)

Can I save a partially completed application?

Yes, since you created an account to begin the application, you can save it and return to complete it later. Note that the submission deadline for the first round of funding is May 31, 2022. (Added May 19th, 2022)

Can you move forward from MAT Program Key Contacts to Areas of Support if all contacts aren’t filled out?

Yes, you can move forward by pressing “Save and Continue” at the bottom of the page. At the time of submission, you will need to have all contacts filled out. (Added May 19th, 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 and should follow the instructions in the email. (Added May 16th, 2022)

Who is authorized to sign and submit the application?

Each applicant entity will have its own policy on who can sign and submit the application. The application asks the authorized signatory for the application to “certify that the information provided on the form is true and correct and that you are authorized by your organization to provide the information.” (Added May 19th, 2022)


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. See our resources Navigator Hiring Guide and Substance Use Navigator Job Description for additional information about the navigator position. (Updated on May 19th, 2022)

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. 

Can we split-fund and cross-train navigators on infection disease linkages to care among people with substance use disorders?

As long as there is a navigator supporting the hospital’s Bridge Navigator Program for at least 0.5 FTE, we support additional training for navigators to provide support to people with substance use disorder. (Added May 19th, 2022)

If the navigator is only a 0.5 FTE to 1 FTE role, then the navigator is only available to the ED during the navigator’s shift. What does the ED do if there is no navigator on shift?

If the navigator is not on shift, the provider or staff person who assisted the patient should get the patient’s contact information and provide it to the navigator when they come on shift. The navigator would see the patient record and reach out to the patient to refer them to treatment in the community or extend their buprenorphine. Navigators may be able to use their EHR to find who to follow up with. (Added May 31st, 2022)


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 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 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 deliverable 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 the 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)

Can the funding be used to support other members of the substance use treatment team besides the navigator and clinical champion?

The funding can support costs necessary for the hospital to meet the Bridge Navigator Program deliverables as long as there is a navigator supporting the program with at least 0.5 FTE. Enter this information under “Other Expenses” and provide information in the Budget Comments and Notes box. (Added May 19th, 2022)

Are indirect costs allowed?

Yes, indirect costs are an allowable expense. (Added May 19th, 2022)

How do I calculate the indirect cost?

The Indirect Cost rate is a percentage of Direct Costs. Direct Costs are the sum of (Navigator + Clinical Champion + Other Expenses. The calculation is: [Direct Costs] + [Direct Costs x IDC] = $120,000.

For example, if the Indirect Cost rate is 10%, Direct Costs (Navigator + Clinical Champion + Other Expenses) would be $109,091. [$109,091 x 10% = $10,909] [$109,091 + $10,909 = $120,000] (Added May 19th, 2022)


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.

What does it mean that priority will be given to hospitals that did not previously receive funding through the BHPP?

When applications are submitted, PHI/CA Bridge will prioritize reviewing applications that did not receive funding through the BHPP. If your hospital did receive funding through the BHPP, we will review your application as soon as we have reviewed any pending prioritized applications. We encourage all applicants to submit as early as possible, whether or not you received BHPP funding, as we are reviewing applications as they are received. (Updated June 2nd, 2022)

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.  


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. 


Who is responsible for reporting the completion of the deliverables?

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 deliverables are met?

Once the subcontract is fully executed, the applicant will submit their first deliverables report and invoice to Once the deliverables 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 deliverables 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 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


If there are two or more navigators in the ED, does the hospital only report data for the one navigator funded by the Bridge Navigator Program?

Please report data for all patients, regardless of which navigator engaged with the patient. (Updated May 19th, 2022)

What if we have one navigator in the ED and another on the inpatient medical floor, do we need to report that differently or combine it all together?

Please report data for all patients, regardless of which department saw the patient. (Updated May 19th, 2022)

How can we track the new referrals metric (# of ED/hospital encounters where a patient was discharged with a scheduled or drop-in appointment with an outpatient SUD provider within a week)?

We are only asking the hospital to track if the patient was referred. We are not asking the hospital to follow up to determine whether or not the patient utilized the referral. Some sites can get this information from a discharge summary. (Added June 1st, 2022)

Will we keep reporting data for the current BHPP grant, or will this all be combined into a new monthly data reporting process?
All BHPP data is due by July 8th through the current data portal. New data reporting requirements will take effect according to your new agreement start date. (Added June 1st, 2022)

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

Request for Applications

Download and review the RFA (PDF) before applying.

Application Attachments

Review the attachments below for additional application details.