San Diego Business Journal

Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego landed a $260,000 grant to treat opioid use disorder, the California Bridge Program recently announced.

The program, funded through the California Department of Health Care Services and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, recently doled out $8 million to 31 health organizations. Training and assistance are part of the grants as well.

In San Diego, UC San Diego Health also received a grant, but the organization didn’t immediately respond to a request inquiring about the grant amount.

Under a two-part program, Scripps said its emergency room doctors will receive training – and Drug Enforcement Administration approval – to administer medications like buprenorphine for opioid withdrawal symptoms. Patients could also be prescribed medication acting as a “bridge” until additional care.

“By suppressing withdrawal long enough to create a bridge for patients to enter and remain in treatment, physicians can save lives,” said Andrew Herring, director of emergency department services for the California Bridge Program, in a statement. “We know this model works and now we are bringing it to hospitals across the state.”

Scripps Mercy will also bolster counseling for discharging patients, such as connecting them with Family Health Centers of San Diego, an outpatient facility partnered with Scripps. In addition, Scripps will monitor outpatient care.

Scripps said the grant meshes with an opioid stewardship program it launched in 2017, which included putting in place opioid prescribing standards and drug take-back kiosks at its onsite pharmacies.