Written by: Center for Care Innovations

An effective partnership between the emergency department (ED) and health center is an important component of expanding access to MAT. Through this partnership, patients can not only receive lifesaving treatment, but also get connected to ongoing care once they’ve initiated medications in a hospital or ED.

This webinar features two partnerships between EDs and the health centers with which they coordinate care for shared patients. Central to this coordination is the Substance Use Navigator (SUN) which is an ED-based staff person that helps support MAT patients. The health centers participate in Addiction Treatment Starts Here (ATSH) while the EDs are part of the California Bridge Program’s MAT collaborative. ATSH Coach Joe Sepulveda, MD facilitates a panel discussion on improving coordination between the ED and health centers, featuring speakers from Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, Cottage Hospital ED, KCS Health Center and UCI Hospital ED.


Those who want to learn more about effective coordination between primary care health centers and emergency departments.


  • SUNs are critical to the partnership between the ED and health center. Using a harm reduction approach, SUNs support patient goals and help them connect to ongoing treatment.
  • Warm hand-offs between the ED and health center help address ambivalence that a patient may experience by ensuring the patient receives the education and support they need.
  • Several factors contribute to improving MAT care for patients first presenting in the ED. First, having x-waivered prescribers in the ED ensures that patients have access to longer prescriptions. Second, same-day appointments reduce barriers to patients seeking community-based care. Finally, a step-wise planning approach allows both the health center and ED to establish shared expectations for a successful partnership.

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