El Centro Regional Medical Center has received a grant to help in the fight against opioid addiction.

The El Centro hospital has been selected as one of 31 health care facilities in the state to participate in the California Bridge Program, an accelerated training program for healthcare providers through the Public Health Institute’s Bridge program to enhance around-the-clock access to treatment for substance abuse disorders. The hospitals will receive funding , training , and technical assistance to improve and increase access to treatment and referral of acute symptoms of acute substance use disorders.

Dr. Leslie Mukau , Medical Director of the ECRMC Emergency Department , said , “... in Imperial Valley this program means that we will be able to save lives and bring hope to our members with Substance Abuse Disorder by decreasing mortality and bringing front line treatment that has not been available to them.”

A referral to an addiction treatment program has been the most that hospitals could provide for patients needing treatment for opioid use disorder. The Bridge model treats emergency rooms and acute care hospitals as a critical means for initiating treatment. Patients in the ER with opioid withdrawal come seeking medical care , including reasons not related to opioid use , they will be offered medication to ease severe symptoms of withdrawal , and then they will be connected with outpatient treatment in the community.  By suppressing withdrawal long enough to create a bridge for patients to enter and remain in treatment , physicians can save lives.