Expanding Access to Medications for Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Through Incentivized Continuing Education

Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions (08/27/21) Salisbury-Afshar, Elizabeth; Smithenry, Dennis; Boley, Randy A.; et al.

A Rush University fellowship training program offered financial incentives to broaden buprenorphine treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) in Illinois. Physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants recruited into the non–Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education-accredited fellowship completed an online Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 waiver course before attending a two-day, in-person intensive training course highlighting case-based and active learning strategies. A nine-month webinar series then focused on topics including buprenorphine use during pregnancy, management of co-occurring pain and co-occurring psychiatric conditions, ongoing substance use, injectable buprenorphine for OUD treatment, and extended release of naltrexone for OUD treatment. Fellows who completed the course were able to earn a total 29 hours of continuing medical education (CME)/continuing education unit and a maximum stipend of $5,000 prorated according to participation. Upon completion of the course, 84 percent (31) of 37 participants said they were actively prescribing buprenorphine. In addition, 74 percent (17) of the 23 fellows who were not prescribing at the start of the fellowship were doing so by its conclusion. Of the 16 nonfellowship participants, meanwhile, 56 percent (9) had received a waiver to prescribe buprenorphine and 13 percent (2) said they were actively prescribing the drug by the end of the study. The fellows described their experiences as very positive, with 100 percent "strongly agreeing" that they would recommend the fellowship to others. The authors say the findings indicate providers require additional training beyond the waiver to begin buprenorphine prescribing. They conclude that the financially incentivized fellowship model innovatively delivers CME that yields rapid outcomes.

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