Program Overview

The MATTERS Network began as a Buffalo, New York-based electronic referral platform to connect patients to medications for opioid use disorder (MOUDs). Buffalo MATTERs served to establish prescribing guidelines for physicians and advanced practice providers opioid use disorder in Western New York. Our electronic referral platform efficiently refers patients with opioid use disorder from emergency departments, OB/GYN offices, correctional facilities, inpatient units, pre-hospital settings, etc. to community-based clinics.

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Mission, Vision & Values


Hospitals, primary care offices, correctional facilities, first responders & telemedicine services, through the Medication for Addiction Treatment and Electronic Referrals (MATTERS) Network, are linking patients with community-based substance use and mental health treatment organizations to optimize controlled substance prescribing, increase access to medication for addiction treatment (MAT), and provide rapid access to treatment services.

  • To aid our shared patients in initiating and continuing effective substance use disorder and mental health treatment.
  •  To reduce morbidity and mortality associated with substance use disorders and mental health conditions.
  •  To provide a best-practice model for Hospital and Emergency Department Initiated Buprenorphine Programs and linkage to ongoing treatment that others can adopt.
  •  To provide the same high level of care to patients suffering from substance use disorder and mental health illness that we would for any other medical condition.
  •  To utilize telehealth technology to provide access to care for those who can’t visit a physical treatment location.
Referral partners will follow these values:  

  • Will educate their providers on screening and diagnosing substance use disorder and mental health illness.
  •  Will prescribe MAT for patients when appropriate based current guidelines.
  • Will not automatically disqualify patients from receiving MAT if they engage in polysubstance abuse (especially benzodiazepines and/or alcohol).
  • Will refer patients to the most appropriate treatment possible based on their unique needs.
  • Will inform patients of the referral program’s expectations.
  • Will continuously evaluate this program and share lessons learned with others.
Community-based substance use treatment programs that embody these values:  

  • Will accept and work with patients regardless of insurance status.
  • Will provide care that is culturally appropriate for the target population of patients with substance use disorder.
  • Will provide feedback to referring providers regarding the disposition of referred patients to improve processes.
  • Will provide feedback on patient treatment retention.
  • Will accept referred patients previously discharged from a treatment program.
  • Will accept patients who have not been prescribed buprenorphine or other forms of MAT in the past.
  • Will offer timely appointments to patients referred from all referral environments.
  • Will not automatically disqualify patients from receiving medication assisted treatment if they engage in polysubstance use.
  • Will not place undue financial burden on the patient.

What We Do

MATTERS offers medication vouchers to patients without health insurance coverage. This voucher will cover a patient’s buprenorphine prescription for up to 14 days. We proudly participate with all Walgreens, Wegmans, and CVS locations in New York State as well as many independently owned pharmacies.
We offer a free transportation voucher for individuals needing assistance getting to and from their first clinic appointment.
Patients can now receive a MATTERS referral from almost anywhere via virtual emergency room visits.
Many correctional facilities serve as MATTERS referral sites and offer inmates referrals to treatment upon release. Inmates will receive an appointment at a desired treatment location, a medication voucher (if applicable), and a referral to a peer support network.
MATTERS implements harm reduction strategies into our protocols/everyday practices. We recommend all patients/family members are provided a naloxone (Narcan) kit to prevent overdose upon discharge and after a New York MATTERS referral is completed. Various EMS agencies across the state have also partnered with us in a “Leave Behind Naloxone” initiative.
Patients who do not meet criteria to take their first dose of buprenorphine at the hospital are given a prescription to take their first dose at home- this practice is termed home induction. Our discharge instructions provide patients with a detailed explanation as to when to take their first dose of buprenorphine.
The MATTERS team is working to develop an addiction consultation service to support hospital-based providers in caring for patients with substance use disorders.
Our electronic referral platform efficiently refers patients with opioid use disorder to community-based clinics from emergency departments along with OB/GYN offices, correctional facilities, inpatient units, pre-hospital settings, etc.