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California Awards $20 Million to Hospitals to Fund SUD Treatment Services

August 20, 2020

The California Department of Health Care Services has announced that $20 million in funding will be awarded to 212 hospitals in the state to provide opioid and substance use disorder treatment services through its Behavioral Health Pilot Project.

The program is based on CA Bridge, a Public Health Institute initiative that combines medication-assisted treatment in emergency departments with counselor-provided support as a pathway to ongoing treatment for SUD.

The state Department of Health Care Services will provide BHPP grantees with training, tools, resources, educational materials and data collection assistance. The department said in a news release announcing the program that the state’s 2019 budget had appropriated the $20 million necessary to launch the BHPP, but delayed the project because of the COVID-19 pandemic to expand the CA Bridge model. The funds were then reappropriated in the 2020 Budget Act, and should be distributed to hospitals in September.

“This funding will revolutionize how substance use is addressed in hospitals by shifting the attitudes of providers, many of whom are reluctant to treat people who use drugs,” Dr. Aimee Moulin, professor of Emergency Medicine at UC Davis Medical Center, said in a news release announcing the project. “We are getting closer to the day when every emergency department treats substance use disorder because it’s the most equitable way to improve access to care.”

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