Access to Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) is an important factor in improving outcomes for persons with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD), particularly if they also carry co-occurring psychiatric disorders. Indeed, treating the Substance Use Disorder (SUD) will improve the prognosis of the co-occurring psychiatric disorder and vice-versa. Underserved populations are particularly vulnerable to disease burden, stigma and not having access to evidence based treatments. Collaborative care is an evidence-based model of integrated mental health in primary care settings that shows clear and significant effectiveness for the treatment of depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
One model to address the needs of underserved communities involves Community Behavioral Health Organizations (CBHOs) adopting a group therapy model of integrated care. In a such a model, MAT can be delivered to a larger group of patients while meaningfully monitoring their clinical situation and integrating medication management with psychosocial interventions. When used for Buprenorphine prescribing, studies have found that more patients remain engaged in treatment and in recovery.
Licensed physicians seeking to prescribe Buprenorphine require a waiver and must adhere to nationally recognized evidence-based guidelines for treating patients with opioid use disorder, adhere to a diversion control plan to reduce the possibility of diversion of buprenorphine, provide patients with necessary behavioral health services either directly or through a formal agreement with another entity and use patient data to inform improvement of outcomes.