Health Care Providers: Bring Opioid Treatment To Your Emergency Departments

How-To Guides Created For You By Premier Health

Emergency departments are in a special position to care for patients who present with symptoms of opioid use disorder (OUD) or substance use disorder (SUD). And to help prevent the continuing increase in deaths from drug overdoses.

Open 24/7, EDs like yours provide ready access to medical treatment for all, including underserved populations. Among these are people needing immediate access to life-saving overdose medical care, treatment of withdrawal symptoms and other OUD complications, and referral to long-term addiction treatment.

Premier Health has established a program that offers this kind of care in four of our EDs: the Substance Use Navigator (SUN) Program. We developed it with the help of a Comprehensive Care for Substance Use in Ohio Emergency Departments (CCOED) grant from the Ohio Department of Health.

Introducing the Premier Health SUN Tool Kit

To guide you in developing a Substance Use Navigator program in your ED, we encourage you to read the Substance Use Navigator (SUN) Tool Kit.

We created this tool kit from the lessons we learned while implementing the SUN Program in our EDs, based on CA Bridge’s Navigator Program.

About Substance Use Navigators

Substance use navigators (SUNs), as the SUN Tool Kit explains, serve alongside behavioral health, social work, and nursing teams in the ED. They provide supportive services and resources to patients with suspected, or confirmed, OUD or SUD.

The SUNs’ scope of work at Premier Health includes completing chemical dependency assessments, promoting and providing access to naloxone and evidence-based medication-assisted treatment (MAT), linking patients to ongoing medical management and community services, scheduling substance use-related appointments, and following up with patients after they leave the ED.

The SUN Tool Kit covers the SUN job description, SUN training and orientation, billing for their services, department integration and workflows created for the Premier Health SUN Program, recommendations for implementing the SUN Program, and more.

The Buprenorphine Self-Start Implementation Guide

As a complement to the SUN Program, Premier Health has developed the Buprenorphine Self-Start Program, which guides our EDs in initiating evidence-based medication-assisted treatment for patients. Learn more about this by reading our Buprenorphine Self-Start Implementation Guide.

The Self-Start program provides ED patients not in active withdrawal patient education and a three-day buprenorphine prescription to start on their own when they reach the appropriate level of withdrawal. The Buprenorphine Self-Start Program operates with support from Premier Health’s partner OneFifteen, an outpatient drug treatment center that provides patients follow-up medication-assisted treatment.

To learn more: