Emergency Departments Establish Substance Use Navigator Program

Premier Pulse     May 2023

Premier Health is taking the next step in the fight against substance use disorder by establishing a Substance Use Navigator, or SUN (pronounced like the word “sun”), program. SUNs work with patients in the emergency department to complete chemical dependency assessments and provide linkages to care, including placement in treatment facilities and other wrap-around services. Premier Health is the first in the region to implement a SUN program. Substance use navigators must have experience with substance use disorder, nursing, or social work.

In addition, the most important characteristic that a SUN must demonstrate is a passion for serving the community and a strong sense of compassion for the patients they encounter. It is imperative that a SUN connects with a patient in ways that other emergency department professionals cannot. When fully staffed, Premier Health will have eight substance-use navigators. Currently, six SUNs are in place and cover Miami Valley Hospital North, Miami Valley Hospital, Atrium Medical Center, and Upper Valley Medical Center. Premier Health is looking to hire additional SUNs for Upper Valley Medical Center and Atrium Medical Center.

In mid-2021, in partnership with ProMedica, Premier Health received a grant from the Ohio Department of Health to treat emergency department patients struggling with substance use disorder and connect them with the help they need. The Comprehensive Care for Substance Use in Ohio Emergency Departments (CCOED) program has enabled Premier Health to start a best practice by implementing the SUN program.

Back to the May 2023 issue of Premier Pulse

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