Written by: Center for Care Innovations

In 2019, the Center for Care Innovations launched Addiction Treatment Starts Here (ATSH), a collaborative that supported nearly 60 primary care health center sites in California with starting new or expanding existing programs to provide medications for addiction treatment (MAT) with a focus on opioid use disorder. Throughout the program, health center teams were eager to share their successes and challenges, helping others to expand access to life-saving medications for opioid use disorder.

On this page we compile MAT Chats, a monthly interview series that highlighted the accomplishments and work of ATSH teams. These teams described their experience with providing MAT to youth/adolescents, approaches to treating patients with chronic pain, and learning how to address patient needs beyond medications — all through behavioral health services and partnerships with external organizations. Read these interviews to learn about their work.


Enhancing Capabilities Across a MAT Program

Interview with Dr. Eric Schluederberg, Kheir Clinic

Learn more about Kheir Clinic’s journey to grow its MAT patient population. Read about how staffers developed their partnership with a local behavioral health provider and did case management services and outreach with patients who lack reliable access to communications. Click for interview.


Co-Occurring Chronic Pain and Opioid Use Disorder

Interview with Dr. Kenneth Pettersen, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center

Many MAT patients have chronic and co-occurring pain. Learn about one organization’s approach to caring for patients with opioid use disorder and co-morbid pain. Olive View Medical Center describes its protocols, prescribing practices, care team roles, and patient communication, including “building an alliance with patients so they trust you not to abandon them.” Click for interview.


Supporting Behavioral Health and Social Needs

Interview with Lee Bradshaw, SUD Program Supervisor, Bay Area Community Health

Learn about Bay Area Community Health’s (BACH) approach to case management services for MAT patients. BACH describes its range of services, the process used to identify resources and connect patients to them, and its well-received Zoom Relapse Prevention Group. Click for interview.


MAT for Youth and Adolescents

Interview with Amy Bravo (Executive Director), Michael Salinas (Outpatient Service Manager), and Guillermo Rodriguez (Clinical Supervisor), Valley Health Associates

Providing MAT for adolescents remains one of the biggest challenges for many MAT programs. Outpatient Treatment Program Valley Health Associates shares the “secret sauce” to their Youth Treatment Program, including outreach, services, care team members, and workflow. Click for interview.


MAT Care Via Phone and Telehealth During COVID-19

Interview with Heather Couch, FNP, Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency

At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many ATSH participants were focused on transitioning in-person care to a virtual environment. Conducted in April 2020, this MAT Chat highlights the County of Santa Cruz’s journey in caring for MAT patients, relying primarily on services provided via telehealth rather than face to face. Click for interview.


Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Screening During MAT Intake

Interview with Katie Bell, MSN, RN-BC, CARN, PHN, ATSH Coach

Health care providers in California are increasingly screening for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) such as abuse, neglect, or growing up with a mentally ill parent. Hear from ATSH Coach Katie Bell about why such screenings are an instrumental component to MAT intakes. Bell also provides tips for integrating the screenings, including who should conduct them and how to frame sensitive questions. Click for interview.


Starting a Successful MAT Program

Interview with Dr. Eduardo Villarama, Regional Medical Director, Golden Valley Health Centers

Central to the success of Golden Valley’s MAT program was its focus on engagement among providers and staff. Read about its efforts to create a welcoming environment for patients, get buy-in from senior leaders and providers, and provide education and training across its large organization. Click for interview.


Growing Your MAT Patient Population

Interview with Ellen Ahn, Executive Director, KCS Health Center

KCS Health Center started a new MAT program during its participation in ATSH. Its team quickly designed and scaled up their program, eventually providing MAT to more than 250 patients. This chat occured about midway through the program, as KCS was building its program and focusing on training providers and staff. Click for interview.


Community Partnerships, Including Those with the Criminal Justice System

Interview with Arlene Brown, Recovery Support Navigator, Northern Inyo Healthcare District

Northern Inyo Healthcare District looked to community organizations as crucial partners in its efforts to support patients with opioid use disorder. Northern Inyo’s Arlene Brown describes efforts to establish collaborative relationships with the criminal justice system and to reduce overdoses. Click for interview.


Strategies to Address Behavioral Health and Social Needs: Opening a Satellite Clinic and Creating Partnerships

Interview with Wendi Vierra, Director of Operations, Behavioral Health, Neighborhood Healthcare

Interested in improving the way you address social risk factors?  Read more about Neighborhood Health’s strategic effort to address social determinants through community partnerships. This MAT Chat focuses on the collaboration between Interfaith Community Services and the launch of a Neighborhood Satellite Clinic. Click for interview.