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


Regional hospital systems, through the Medication for Addiction Treatment and Electronic Referrals (MATTERS) network are partnering with community-based substance use treatment programs to reduce inappropriate controlled substance prescribing, increase access to medication assisted treatment (MAT), and provide rapid access to substance use treatment programs.

  • To aid our shared patients in initiating and continuing successful opioid and overall substance use disorder treatment.
  • To reduce morbidity and mortality associated with opiate and substance use disorder.
  • To provide a best practice model for Hospital and Emergency Department Initiated Buprenorphine Programs that others can emulate.
  • To provide the same high level of care to patients suffering from opiate use disorder that we would for any other emergency medical condition.
Referral partners will follow these values:  

  • We will prescribe buprenorphine for patients when appropriate based on our guidelines. 
  • We will not automatically disqualify patients from receiving buprenorphine if they engage in polysubstance use (especially benzodiazepines and/or alcohol).  
  • We will refer patients to the most appropriate follow up possible based on their unique needs. 
  • We will inform patients of the referral program’s expectations. 
  • We will continuously evaluate our program and share our lessons learned with others. 
Community-based substance use treatment programs that embody these values:  

  • They will accept and work with patients regardless of insurance status.  
  • They will accept patients who have not been prescribed buprenorphine or MAT in the past.  
  • They will offer timely appointments to patients referred from the hospital and emergency department. 
  • They will accept referred patients even if previously discharged from a treatment program. 
  • They will not automatically disqualify patients from receiving medication assisted treatment if they engage in polysubstance use (especially benzodiazepines and/or alcohol).  
  • They will not place undue financial burden on the patient. 
  • They will provide care that is culturally appropriate for the target population of patients with substance use disorder.  
  • They will provide feedback referring providers regarding the disposition of referred patients to improve processes.  

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.