Author: 
Jennifer Faringer, Chair of Monroe County Opioid Task Force

CADCA’s MAT Project Kicks Off in New Orleans

DePaul’s National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence-Rochester Area (NCADD-RA) was thrilled to be selected to participate and to partner with CADCA and other communities across the country on the 2017 Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT) project!  We have long recognized in our county, as well as our region, the lack of sufficient number of Buprenorphine-certified prescribers. Over the several years, we have engaged with our regional Consortium, the Monroe County Medical Society and others in support of decreasing stigma and increasing awareness around the importance of availability and utilization of MAT, as well as address the provider’s concerns to become certified to prescribe Buprenorphine.

What was already a problem with a limited number of certified prescribers has become exacerbated now in light of the opioid crisis. It is now even more critical that we work collaboratively with our partner networks that includes the multi-sector Monroe County Opioid Task Force membership. Through our Physician Subcommittee of the Opioid Task Force and specifically with medically-based members, that includes the Monroe County Medical Society, Dental Association, Department of Public Health and the current group of physicians, we will expand on these MAT specific efforts, working collaboratively. The MAT project responds specifically to one of the identified and critical goal/priority areas of the Monroe County Opioid Task Force:

  • To ensure treatment on demand to appropriate level of care and immediate access to Medically Assisted Treatment in conjunction with behavioral therapies.

Additionally, through our advocacy efforts at NCADD-RA, we have promoted over the last several years the removal of the artificial cap of 100 patients for physicians who are certified Buprenorphine prescribers. We have also long advocated for those physicians to practice linking their patients up with necessary adjunctive therapy to increase patient success. We were pleased to see the federal expansion last year of the cap for those physicians who have training in addiction medicine and are more likely to practice per protocol as well as the expansion to include now physician assistants and nurse practitioners.

At the community-level, we are currently supporting physician-led Department of Health training through the provision of clinical waiver training necessary to become MAT providers. We also are supportive of other MAT strategies, one of which includes the recent utilization of Vivitrol at the Monroe County Correctional Facility and its warm handoff of newly released inmates to a clinical treatment provider for ongoing follow-up with both MAT and adjunctive therapy.

In our community, we have identified several community champions and are supportive and engaged in these efforts. Champions include medical directors of several local treatment providers’ agencies, medical director of insurer, Health Commissioner of the MC Department of Public Health, as well as a very active and engaged Opioid Task Force.

We hope to continue our purpose to raise awareness of the importance of MAT, to continue to work to decrease the stigma remaining associated with MAT utilization by patients, prescribers and the larger community.