Preparing Providers to Treat Opioid Use Disorder
In order to expand the availability of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) – an evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) – providers must seek a Drug Addiction Treatment Act (DATA) waiver. This waiver allows qualified clinicians to prescribe buprenorphine, a prescription medication that, when combined with behavioral health counseling, has proven effective treating OUD. Once obtained, prescribers may treat 30 patients at a time in the first year and after one year, can apply to increase up to 275 patients. In order to obtain a waiver, eight hours of specialized training is required for physicians and 24 hours for nurse practitioners.
MaineHealth offers a half-and-half format with 3.75 hours of independent training and 4.25 hours of face-to-face training with an instructor. Dr. Kristen Silvia led trainings attended by about 200 physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners to assist providers in certification to prescribe buprenorphine for patients who have opioid use disorder.
Giving clinicians the tools they need to respond to the opioid crisis
This recent crisis calls for a multi-faceted approach including providing training and tools to Maine clinicians on a myriad of topics. In order to respond to the opioid epidemic, Maine clinicians need to be trained in not only treating those with opioid use disorder, but in appropriate prescribing of opioids, tapering of those above the recommended limits, and counseling and motivating patients to seek treatment.
MaineHealth has provided training for its clinicians on a broad range of topics including:
- Appropriate diagnosis and treatment of opioid addiction
- Obtaining a buprenorphine waiver in order to treat patients in need of this medication
- Compassionate tapering of opioid use for patients beyond the legal threshold
- Compliance with Maine prescribing laws
Collaborating with partner organizations to address opioid abuse and addiction
Caring for ME
Maine Quality Counts and the Maine Medical Association launched the Caring for ME Collaborative effort that aims to bring together a wide set of partners to promote shared messages, educational resources and practical tools for health care providers. During the period July 2016 to June 2017, Caring for ME conducted 19 webinars, 8 regional training events and provided CME certificates to over 1,500 participants on topics ranging from topics such as Snuggle ME guidelines for maternity and newborn care, to chronic pain management.
Maine Opioid Collaborative Summit
In May 2016, the Maine Opiate Collaborative Summit drew over 100 attendees and included recommendations from the three task forces representing Law Enforcement, Treatment and Prevention and Harm Reduction. Over 1,000 copies of the summary report on these recommendations have been distributed.