Implementing a Novel Statewide Network to Support Emergency Department-initiated Buprenorphine Treatment

Brian M. Clemency, Rachel A. Hoopsick, Susan J. Burnett, Linda S. Kahn, Joshua J. Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD), including buprenorphine, represent an evidence-based treatment that supports long-term recovery and reduces risk of overdose death. Patients in crisis from opioid use disorder (OUD) often seek care from emergency departments (ED). The New York Medication for Addiction Treatment and Electronic Referrals (MATTERS) network is designed to support ED-initiated buprenorphine and urgent referrals to long-term care for patients suffering from OUD. Methods: Using the PRECEDE-PROCEED implementation science framework, we provide an overview of the creation of the MATTERS network in Western New York. We also include an explanation of how the network was designed and launched as a response to the opioid epidemic. Finally, we analyzed the program’s outputs and outcomes, thus far, as it continues to grow across the state. Results: The New York MATTERS network was created and implemented in 2019 with a single hospital referring patients with OUD to three local clinics. In the social assessment and situational analysis phase, we describe the opioid epidemic and available resources in the region at the outset of the program. In the epidemiological assessment phase, we quantify the epidemic on the state and regional levels. In the educational and ecological assessment, we review local ED practices and resources. In the administrative and policy assessment and intervention alignment phase, the program’s unique framework is reviewed. In the piloting phase, we describe the initial deployment of New York MATTERS. Finally, in the process evaluation phase, we depict the early lessons we learned. By the beginning of 2021, the New York MATTERS network included 35 hospitals that refer to 47 clinics throughout New York State. Conclusion: The New York MATTERS network provides a structured approach to reduce barriers to ED-initiated buprenorphine and urgent referral to long-term care. An implementation framework provides a structured means of evaluating this best practice model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-460
Number of pages10
JournalWestern Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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