Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services (DHS) recently revealed its successful attainment of almost $3 million in federal grant funds to combat Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) in outlying areas with officially sanctioned medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
MAT works to lower the frequency and dosage of opioid use by substituting FDA-approved medicines such as buprenorphine and injectable naltrexone in conjunction with behavioral health therapy. The approach is focused on the whole person, relies on collaboration between multiple parties and aims to achieve integration of the treatment with primary care.
The three-year grant will go toward education and training of primary care providers to provide services in the commonwealth’s rural areas as of Sept. 30. DHS plans to partner with managed care organizations and the University of Pittsburgh Health Policy Institute. Existing MAT providers will also help DHS recruit and support additional rural primary care practices.
The grant serves a statewide initiative to confront the opioid health crisis and bolsters affiliated endeavors by the DHS’ Centers of Excellence for patients on Medicaid. DHS will partner with the HealthChoices’ Medicaid managed care organizations throughout Pennsylvania as the program gains traction.
Additionally, the funding will allow the current number of primary care physicians trained to offer the specialized care to double.