According to a study in the “Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment”, the average physician with a waiver to prescribe buprenorphine is currently treating only 26 patients for opioid addiction and some waivered physicians are not treating patients at all for addiction.
While the Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) utilizing buprenorphine has been shown to be an evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder across the U.S and in Connecticut, access to this type of service is well below the demand created by the current opioid epidemic.
To help the situation in Connecticut, Beacon Health Options functioning as the Administrative Services Organization for the Connecticut Behavioral Health Partnership (CTBHP), is helping to manage behavioral health services provided under the Connecticut State Medicaid program.
Connecticut’s opioid addiction treatment access in the state is restricted by a shortage of Data 2000 waived prescribers, lack of waived prescribers in certain underserved geographic areas, as well as the fact that many waived prescribers either do not offer the treatment or are prescribing at rates far below their capacity under the waiver program.
To provide better care for opioid addiction, the state launched the Beacon TeleECHO program to help primary care providers and other community practitioners grow the network of clinicians who can effectively manage the holistic treatment of complex patients addicted to opioids.
The Beacon TeleECHO project provides telehealth consultations and education services to qualified Medicaid Program providers who want to know more about using Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Opioid Use Disorders.
Project TeleECHO has three components:
- Hubs are composed of a team of Beacon staff who function as experts on MAT related to opioid use disorders and particularly prescribing of buprenorphine. The Hub provides bi-weekly one hour telehealth TeleECHO clinics plus education, support, and consultations to the TeleECHO spokes
- Spokes consist of up to ten local clinics, provider groups, group practices, or others that are trained Data 2000 waived eligible Buprenorphine prescribers. They are able to participate in clinics to support treat opioid use disorders and provide education and consultations to support the program
- The support team is composed of Beacon employees and managers who oversee the project and provide training to hubs and spokes, scheduling, and facilitation of TeleECHO clinic meetings, along with maintenance and troubleshooting regarding the use of the ZOOM telehealth interface
On June 5, 2017, A Request for Qualifications was issued by Beacon Health Options for the TeleECHO project to deal with opioid use disorders. The Request for Qualifications was due on June 16, 2017 with the first wave of participants selected for the program on June 21, 2017