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After reviewing the literature, the Rutgers, UM, and Wayne State researchers made a number of recommendations, including: Making medication treatment more accessible, with an expansion of telemedicine by creating policy that exempts rural patients from in-person visits when starting treatment and reimbursing telemedicine for publicly insured patients. Encouraging low-cost options such as technology-assisted treatment and peer recovery specialists to address other psychosocial problems. Subsidizing transportation through policies offering reimbursement for mileage, non-emergency medical shuttles and ride-sharing, especially for people whose methadone or buprenorphine treatments require frequent clinic visits. Promoting legislation that allows pharmacies to dispense medication treatment such as in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. Having doctors and hospitals encourage healthcare providers to complete training about administering medication, and building relationships with other specialists delivering treatment.
The researchers' recommendations involve coordination between stakeholders, including academics, healthcare systems, policymakers and community advocates, said Lister, whose expertise includes access and quality of treatment for people with addiction.
He will be discussing their recommendations and building coalitions with rural advocates and policymakers at the National Rural Health Association's Rural Health Policy Institute in February. Source:
Rutgers University Journal reference:
Lister, J. J., et al. (2020) A systematic review of rural-specific barriers to medication treatment for opioid use disorder in the United States. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse . doi.org/10.1080/00952990.2019.1694536 .
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