Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) is a proven way to help people recover from Opioid Use Disorder. There remains a large gap in access to the treatment specifically in Sacramento and El Dorado counties. Physicians must get an X-waiver to be legally allowed to give this specific type of treatment. Currently, the number of physicians who have the waiver and the number of patients they treat are not enough to fulfill the needs of the community. SCOC conducted a survey of these physicians to find out more about the barriers to access and make an action plan to increase access to MAT and created a MAT handout to spread awareness.
What is Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) ?
Medication-Assisted Treatment , SAMHSA
For patients with Opioid Use Disorder, Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) combines medication with counseling and behavioral therapy to give them the best shot at recovery. This method avoids rapidly taking someone off medications and risk heavy withdrawals that harm the recovery process.
Medications commonly used are Buprenorphine (Suboxone®, Subutex®), methadone, and extended release naltrexone (Vivitrol®). They are all effective prescriptions used in MAT to help a patient stop using opioids and subdue the withdrawal pains.
Physicians NO longer need training to prescribe Buprenorphine - MAT Treatment
“On April 28, 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released new Practice Guidelines for the Administration of Buprenorphine for Treating Opioid Use Disorder. The new guidelines exempt eligible physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified registered nurse anesthetists and certified nurse midwives from federal certification requirements related to training, counseling and other ancillary services that are part of the process for obtaining a waiver to treat up to 30 patients with buprenorphine. For complete information, please see the full press release. As a helpful resource, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) has created a Buprenorphine Quick Start Guide with facts about buprenorphine especially for providers as well as FAQ’s about the New Buprenorphine Practice Guidelines. We know this topic is of great importance in terms of expanding treatment access, so please share with colleagues in your organization as appropriate.”
Physicians must go through a complete training to prescribe Buprenorphine. This is known as getting a “X-Waiver.” Not all prescribers have one. We need more certified prescribers fulfill our community’s need.
SCOC MAT Handout
SCOC created a handout to help people learn about Medication-Assisted Treatment and find local resources.
Buprenorphine Study of Our Community
Our coalition brought together experts who wanted to help our community. They surveyed Buprenorphine prescribers in Sacramento and El Dorado County and gave us insight on specific barriers to MAT. We learned that in addition to the obstacles that patients face accessing MAT, doctors face their own barriers to giving out treatment.
- Our community needs more prescribers
- Finding X-Waivered prescribers is difficult – a barrier to treatment
- Time constraints, reimbursement issues, and stigma are significant barriers
Read the full research paper here
Urban Health Institute Assessment of Needs in El Dorado and Sacramento Counties
The California Health Care Foundation funded the assessment of Opioid Use Disorder treatment needs in the state.
The Urban Health Institute conducted the assessment and created a database of county fact sheets. Click here to see all county fact sheets created in the assessment.
- 3.4% of opioid prescribers can prescribe buprenorphine (have the X-waiver).
- More prescribers with X-Waivers are needed to fill the treatment gap of 15,902 people.
- Prescribers with X-waivers were often treating only half the number of patients they could in Sacramento.
Sacramento Urban Health Institute 2019 Fact Sheet
- 5.9% of opioid prescribers can prescriber buprenorphine (have the x-waiver)
- More Prescribers with X-Waivers are needed to fill the treatment gap of 1,925.
- The county has zero opioid treatment programs
El Dorado Urban Health Institute 2019 Fact Sheet
More Information on and MAT Buprenorphine
Medication Assisted Treatment, Partnership for Drug Free Kids
Myths About MAT, The National Council
MAT Pocket Guide, SAMHSA
Medication-Assisted TreatmentFor Opioid Addiction in Opioid Treatment Programs, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
California MAT Expansion Project, Department of Health Care Services