Powerful Opioid Use Disorder Patients In Emergency Departments

A program developed by UB emergency medicine physicians to expedite patient access to comprehensive and effective opioid use disorder treatment is going statewide. Right now, Buffalo MATTERS is available through the emergency departments of 17 hospitals, including all Kaleida Health, Catholic Health and Erie County Medical Center facilities throughout the eight counties of Western New York. This was made possible through last year’s $200,000 award from the Blue Fund of BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York.

A pilot project grant from the John R. Oishei Foundation provide initial funding in 2017. Buffalo MATTERS provides medication-assisted treatment to opioid use disorder patients in emergency departments and rapidly transitions them into long-term treatment at a community clinic of their own choosing, all within about 24-48 hours. Approximately 150 patients have refer from local emergency departments through Buffalo MATTERS.

The emergency departments

Additional support from the NYSDOH has led to new developments within the MATTERS program; so including an online electronic referral system that will be house on a secure communications system operate by the department. The online referral system will streamline referrals to community base; so medication assist treatment (MAT) providers and allow them to provide ongoing care; so for those initiate on MAT in the emergency department setting.

“Through the emergency departments of Western New York hospitals, Buffalo MATTERS has been changing and saving the lives of patients suffering from opioid use disorder,” says Nancy Nielsen, senior associate dean for health policy in the Jacobs School and a member of the Erie County Opiate Epidemic Task Force.  “These patients arrive at our emergency departments; so many in desperate circumstances, often as a last resort.

This funding from the New York State Department of Health will bring the successes that we are starting to see in Western New York to all of the regions of our state and, we hope, beyond.” The program began in 2015, as UB physicians were trying to find a better way to treat patients who came to local emergency departments in withdrawal. “They need to be able to help control their symptoms and quickly transition them to community clinics,” Lynch recalls. “They knew we weren’t doing a great job on either one, but there weren’t many good alternatives out there.”

Program on opioid

“As emergency medicine physicians they are on the frontline of this epidemic,” he says. “Buffalo MATTERS develop out of the critical need to address the opioid epidemic as we saw it unfolding in our emergency departments of the hospitals of Buffalo and Western New York, just as our colleagues across the state and the country are seeing it, too.

Lynch and Clemency have been contact by cities throughout New York State and beyond. They have begun working with cities abroad that they came into contact; hence with as a result of the Fulbright program on opioid use at UB this spring, and Lynch travel to Sydney, Australia, to present; so the MATTERS concept to an international audience. They are also working to make the program available in jails to people who have been arrested; also through obstetrics and gynecology offices to treat pregnant women who are opioid users.

For more information, and for providers to learn how to get waived; so go to the Buffalo MATTERS website. Buffalo MATTERS is one of a number of multidisciplinary UB; which initiatives involving faculty from the Clinical and Research Institute on Addictions (CRIA) that aim to address the crisis of substance use disorders by reducing addiction incidence; hence improving addictions care, and finding new ways to prevent and treat addiction.