New Funding Opportunity: Low-Barrier Access to Buprenorphine

The King County Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) is pleased to release this Request for Letter-of-Interest and Qualifications for Low-Barrier Access to Buprenorphine with funding from the MIDD Behavioral Health Sales Tax, which supports programs and services for individuals living with behavioral health conditions.

The King County Behavioral Health and Recovery Division (BHRD) is seeking information and qualifications from qualified organizations interested in delivering and/or facilitating system-wide access to low-barrier buprenorphine treatment on demand in the community.

Buprenorphine is a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat Opioid Use Disorder (OUD).

The King County Council and the MIDD Advisory Committee approved a multi-pronged opioid initiative to reduce heroin or opioid-linked overdose fatalities and improve the continuum of health care services, treatment and supports for individuals who use opioids. Specifically, the initiative aims to promote equity in access to limited treatment resources while also ensuring that residents whose opioid use is impacting other publicly funded systems (such as emergency medical facilities, psychiatric hospitals, criminal courts, and correctional facilities) have access to responsive and less expensive treatment services.

Objective: Create access to buprenorphine.

King County intends to fund multiple projects totaling $500,000 to create access to buprenorphine for all people in need of services, in low-barrier modalities close to where individuals live.

The traditional approach to treatment has provided quality care to a subset of the overall population of people with opioid use disorder who are able to consistently and predictably engage in treatment and adhere to stringent treatment requirements (regular appointment attendance, urinalysis testing, etc.).

However, many individuals who are experiencing homelessness, have limited or no support systems, or have complex medical and behavioral health needs may experience difficulty successfully engaging and receiving care at traditional opioid treatment programs.

A low-barrier model of care is an alternative approach to opioid treatment that is client-centered, focused on harm reduction, and designed to engage a greater number of individuals experiencing opioid use disorder in effective opioid treatment.

This funding seeks to support a low-barrier or “buprenorphine first” model of care which aims to use buprenorphine treatment induction and stabilization as the priority health intervention. Individuals experiencing opioid use disorder, who desire opioid agonist pharmacotherapy with buprenorphine, will have access to low-barrier treatment on demand. Treatment on demand is defined as the individual meeting with a prescriber immediately, or on day one or day two, to initiate induction of medication.

Examples of potential service models may include the following:

  • An organization that could provide case management system services and support direct linkages to waivered prescribers. Provide a “warm hand off,” client follow up, and linkages to additional recovery support services.
  • Behavioral health agency with a prescriber on staff that obtains a waiver and/or behavioral health agency with a waivered prescriber on staff increases capacity.
  • Waivered prescriber co-located with a behavioral health provider.
  • The adoption of a Care Manager Model (e.g. nurse or other professional) at a Federally Qualified Health Clinic where a nurse care manager would provide an initial screening, a connection to a waivered prescriber, and monitor for maintenance.

Funding awards and amounts are dependent on the quality of proposals, the impact on target populations, and the relative financial needs contained in each proposal. Ongoing funding may be available beyond 2022.

This request is open to non-profits organizations and community-based organizations, and behavioral health providers within King County, Federally Qualified Health Centers, tribes and tribal organizations and public or governmental agencies serving communities in King County.

Submit a Letter of Interest

Please see the full Request for Letters of Interest document attached at the bottom of the page for the details of the selection process, including the scoring criteria and required elements of a successful Letter of Interest. If you have trouble accessing the document, please contact Robyn Smith at

Response due date:

Please send Letter-of-Interest and Qualifications solicitation by March 23, 2022.

Review date:

Applicant responses will be reviewed and scored on or before April 15, 2022, at which time the successful applicants will be notified.

Start date:

The successful applicant will be expected to start work within 60 days of notification of funding.


Please submit questions in writing by 4:00pm on March 18, 2022, to Robyn Smith, Project/Program Manager III – SUD Specialist, at .

Posted: March 10, 2022