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Clinic Payment Options as a Barrier to Accessing Medication-assisted Treatment for Opioid Use in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Rees, John*; Garcia, Gabriel MD

Addictive Disorders & Their Treatment: December 2019 - Volume 18 - Issue 4 - p 246–248
doi: 10.1097/ADT.0000000000000175
Original Articles
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Objectives: For patients with opioid addiction seeking treatment, an effective option is Medication-assisted Treatment (MAT). In Albuquerque, the city with the greatest number of people who use opioids in New Mexico, the demand for MAT exceeds the number of patients receiving treatment. The authors hypothesized that a primary factor in patients’ ability to access treatment is clinic payment options, rather than the traditionally cited availability of providers.

Methods: The authors conducted a survey assessing payment methods and corresponding availability in MAT programs for 53 of Albuquerque’s ~70 providers.

Results: The authors found a statistically significant (P<0.01) imbalance in treatment availability between insurance-accepting clinics (10.1% had ≥1 openings) and cash clinics (100% had ≥1 openings).

Conclusions: These findings suggest that a lack of clinics accepting Medicaid and third party insurance may pose a significant treatment barrier. The authors thus conclude that more focus should be placed on increasing the number of clinicians and clinics accepting insurance.

*Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford

Department of Medicine-Med/Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA

Supported by Stanford University Undergraduate Advising and Research.

Ethics approval: This research was approved by the Stanford University IRB.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: John Rees, Stanford University, P.O. 11821, 531 Lasuen Mall, Stanford, CA 94305 (e-mail: jrrees@stanford.edu).

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