A state-wide electronic referral program connects those with opioid use disorder to medication-assisted treatment
For those with opioid use disorder (OUD), immediate access to buprenorphine and follow-up treatment is critical to success in recovery. Started as an initiative to reduce opioid prescribing in emergency departments, the New York Medication for Addiction Treatment and Electronic Referrals (MATTERS) is now a state-wide electronic referral system and hospital network that facilitates rapid entry into treatment for those with substance use disorders. Hospitals and clinics in the MATTERS network are required to offer buprenorphine to individuals presenting with OUD. Referrals are expedited by a state electronic database of treatment options patients can choose among using a Wi-Fi tablet, and transportation to the clinic is provided. The program has recently expanded its network to include correctional facilities, OB/GYN and primary care practices, and first responders such as EMS, police, and firefighters.
In addition to free transportation to and from clinic for the first appointment, the program provides:
- A voucher covering the cost of buprenorphine for 2 weeks
- Support for harm reduction measures such as providing naloxone and fentanyl test strips
- Instruction for patients on initiating buprenorphine treatment at home
- Consultation for hospitals in caring for those presenting with OUD
- Referrals for patients during virtual emergency room visits
Immediate access to buprenorphine and rapid placement into treatment are critical when responding to the opioid overdose crisis.