Researchers evaluate effectiveness of medication assisted therapy for opioid use disorder

Rebecca Sutter, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, College of Health and Human Services (CHHS), and Allison Evans Cuellar, Professor, Health Administration and Policy, CHHS, are implementing and evaluating the effectiveness of a Mobile Medication Assisted Therapy (MAT) Program in the Prince William Health District that will expand capacity for opioid use disorder support and services.

The mobile unit is staffed with a nurse practitioner, a social worker and a pharmacist.

Mason's College of Health and Human Services (CHHS), Prince William County Community Services (CSB), the Prince William Health District (PWHD), Manassas Regional Adult Detention Center (ADC), and Nova Script Central (NSC) are serving as partners in this project.

Each organization has been able to identify champions for the project.

Sutter and Cuellar have executed memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with CSB and PWHD. These MOUs required that multiple organizations' legal and risk management departments reviewed and approved the agreements.

As part of this project, Sutter and Cuellar have expanded their partnerships and have engaged criminal justice partners who provide direct referrals for Suboxone maintenance upon release from the jail or as a referral from the local and state probation and parole offices in Prince William County.

Additionally, the researchers are working with a peer recovery specialist program--Empowered Community Opioid Project--to continue to engage MAT van clients in recovery. Medication assisted treatment policies and procedures for MAT have been developed and approved for use across organizations. This allows for consistent care coordination and seamless warm hand-offs to the CSB from the van. Included in this policy and these procedures is an algorithm that will allow for a coordinated way for project participants to make medication payments directly to the pharmacies they contract with.

The researchers received $100,000 from the Northern Virginia Health Foundation for this work. Funding began in December 2019 and will conclude in December 2020.

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