Recently, Sharp HealthCare Foundation received notification that Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center was approved for $120,000 in funding through the CalBridge Behavioral Health Navigator Program. The grant will support the expenses of clinical navigators working with patients struggling with substance abuse in the emergency department.
With the addition of Sharp Chula Vista, all four of Sharp's acute care hospitals (Memorial, Grossmont, Coronado, Chula Vista) have received CA Bridge funding of $120,000; a total of $480,000.
“With the continued effort to battle substance abuse in our community, we are excited to have received the California Bridge grant,” says Dr. Andres Smith, Emergency Medicine, Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center. “This will help us keep our community safe and be able to offer better support to all who suffer from substance abuse and mental disorders.”
The CalBridge Behavioral Health Navigator Program (Bridge Navigator Program) supports emergency departments to become primary access points for the treatment of substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions. Through the grant program, Sharp hospitals have access to materials, training, and technical assistance for navigators, clinicians, nurses, and other hospital staff and stakeholders, including:
Hire or maintain an ED-based navigator
Identify, screen, interview, and link patients with substance use disorder and co-occurring mental health conditions to appropriate treatment
Educate providers about medication for addiction treatment (MAT)
Build a stigma-free environment that welcomes disclosure of substance use and provides rapid, evidence-based treatment
Navigate patients with co-occurring mental health conditions to outpatient treatment
The CA Bridge grants are made possible by the extraordinary skill and dedication of our caregivers and Sharp’s leadership in treating our most vulnerable patients. Our leaders say it best:
“Currently, our resources for patients suffering from substance use disorder are very limited without dedicated personnel who can close this gap and ensure appropriate follow-ups. Substance abuse plays a huge part in the overall health and hinders the recovery of our patients to their optimal state, and not having the resources have been limiting, therefore patients end up as ‘frequent flyers’ and/or end up getting readmitted. We are optimistic that we can do better. The CA Bridge grant will allow us to get help to our patients connected with the resources that they need, bridging the care that they get initially from the Emergency Department and/or inpatient to the outpatient community referral agencies.” – Mary Ann David, Director of QI and Care Management
“The opioid epidemic has unfortunately nothing but intensified because of the COVID pandemic related psychosocial stressors heaped upon this ever so vulnerable population. As patient centric providers here at Sharp, we wanted to develop a program that could identify, initiate treatment, and offer a linear rehabilitation pathway for individuals suffering from a substance abuse disorder. Our unique take on the California Bridge MAT program has been nothing short of miraculous in finally providing resources and novel medications to help overcome the immense challenge of navigating substance abuse rehabilitation.” – Dr. Gregory Apel, Chief, Department of Emergency Medicine, Sharp Coronado Hospital
“Indiscriminate in nature, substance use disorders, particularly those related to opioid use, impact all walks of life. In acknowledging the key role, we, as a hospital, play in combatting this epidemic, in reducing stigma, and identifying and connecting those in need to treatment, we embraced the opportunity received with the CA Bridge Grant. The collaboration of nursing, social work, pharmacy, and leadership to break down barriers and establish treatment pathways is extraordinary, and the acknowledgment that we must treat the whole person, psychosocial needs, and all, is healthcare at its finest.” – Kathleen Black, LCSW, CCM, MBA, MSW, Lead Medical Social Worker, Sharp Grossmont Hospital
“Having spent most of my career serving those with mental health and substance use challenges, I am so grateful Sharp is taking a compassionate and active role in helping our community members impacted by the opioid epidemic. The openness, commitment, and enthusiasm from colleagues across our Sharp system is nothing short of incredible! Truly a gift to be a part of eliminating stigma, removing obstacles, and moving closer to healing the whole person. Thank you to California Bridge MAT for providing education and opportunities to our hospitals.” – Stacie Elamparo, BSN, RN, Director, Integrated Care Management, Sharp Memorial Hospital
Congratulations to the ED teams at Sharp HealthCare!
Bill Littlejohn is CEO and senior vice president of the Foundations of Sharp HealthCare.