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Rapid Adoption of Low-Threshold Buprenorphine Treatment at California Emergency Departments Participating in the CA Bridge Program.

Snyder H, Kalmin MM, Moulin A, Campbell A, Goodman-Meza D, Padwa H, Clayton S, Speener M, Shoptaw S, Herring AA. Rapid Adoption of Low-Threshold Buprenorphine Treatment at California Emergency Departments Participating in the CA Bridge Program. Annals of Emergency Medicine. 2021 Dec 1; 78(6):759-772.

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STUDY OBJECTIVE: We retrospectively evaluated the implementation of low-threshold emergency department (ED) buprenorphine treatment at 52 hospitals participating in the CA Bridge Program using the RE-AIM (reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation, maintenance) framework. METHODS: The CA Bridge model included low-threshold buprenorphine, connection to outpatient care, and harm reduction. Implementation began in March 2019. Participating hospitals reported aggregated clinical data monthly after program initiation. Outcomes included identification of opioid use disorder, buprenorphine administration, and linkage to outpatient addiction treatment. Multivariable models assessed associations between hospital location (rural versus urban) and teaching status (clinical teaching hospital versus community hospital) and outcomes in adopting the CA Bridge Program. RESULTS: Reach: A diverse and geographically distributed group of 52 California hospitals were enrolled in 2 phases (March and August 2019); 12 (23%) were rural and 13 (25%) were teaching hospitals. Effectiveness: Over a 14-month implementation period, 12,009 opioid use disorder patient encounters were identified, including 7,179 (59.7%) where buprenorphine was administered and 4,818 (40.1%) where follow-up visits were attended. Adoption: In multivariable analysis, adoption did not differ significantly between rural and urban or teaching and nonteaching hospitals. IMPLEMENTATION: By program completion, all 52 (100%) hospitals treated opioid use disorder with buprenorphine; 45 (86.5%) administered buprenorphine after naloxone reversal; 41 (84.6%) offered buprenorphine for inpatients; 48 (92.3%) initiated buprenorphine in pregnant women; and 29 (55.8%) offered take-home naloxone. Maintenance: At 8-month follow-up, all 52 sites reported continued buprenorphine treatment. CONCLUSION: Low-threshold ED buprenorphine treatment implemented with a harm reduction approach and active navigation to outpatient addiction treatment was successful in achieving buprenorphine treatment for opioid use disorder in diverse California communities.

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