West Virginia's model of buprenorphine expansion: Preliminary results
West Virginia (WV) is situated at the epicenter of the opioid epidemic with the highest rates of overdose deaths and some of the lowest rates of access to life saving evidence-based medication assisted treatment (MAT) for patients with opioid use disorder (OUD). WV used a modified hub-and-spoke model to build organizational capacity for facilities to use buprenorphine to treat patients with OUD and to provide ongoing case consultation. The purpose of this study is to 1) describe the group-base model of buprenorphine treatment and the model used to build organizational capacity, 2) to describe the preliminary results of buprenorphine expansion in WV and 3) to report preliminary data describing and comparing the characteristics of the patients served across five hubs. A single Coordinating Center uses video conferencing to train hubs and provide ongoing case consultation, as well as clinical support. Hubs were trained to deliver a buprenorphine treatment model that is multi-disciplinary and includes group-based medication management and psychosocial therapy. Five regional hubs independently treat patients and are leading MAT expansion in their local areas by training and mentoring spokes (n = 13). As a result of the WV STR funding, 14 health care facilities have started to use buprenorphine, 56 health professionals were trained and 196 patients with OUD have been treated. There were few sociodemographic characteristic differences across patients treated at the five hubs, while there were differences in self-reported alcohol and drug use in the 30 days prior to intake. Additional research is needed to determine whether the WV modified hub-and-spoke model resulted in statistically significant improvements in buprenorphine treatment capacity; there is a need to address MAT stigma and regulatory barriers in order to ensure the long-term sustainability of the buprenorphine expansion.
Winstanley EL, Lander LR, Berry JH, Mahoney JJ 3rd, Zheng W, Herschler J, Marshalek P, Sayres S, Mason J, Haut MW. West Virginia's model of buprenorphine expansion: Preliminary results. J Subst Abuse Treat. 2020 Jan;108:40-47. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2019.05.005. Epub 2019 May 8. PMID: 31221524; PMCID: PMC7055678.