Experiences of three states implementing the Medicaid health home model to address opioid use disorder-Case studies in Maryland, Rhode Island, and Vermont
PURPOSE: The United States is facing an unprecedented opioid epidemic. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) included several provisions designed to increase care coordination in state Medicaid programs and improve outcomes for those with chronic conditions, including substance use disorders. Three states-Maryland, Rhode Island, and Vermont – adopted the ACA’s optional Medicaid health home model for individuals with opioid use disorder. The model coordinates opioid use disorder treatment that features opioid agonist therapy provided at opioid treatment programs (OTPs) and Office-based Opioid Treatment (OBOT) with medical and behavioral health care and other services, including those addressing social determinants of health. This study examines state approaches to opioid health homes (OHH) and uses a retrospective analysis to identify facilitators and barriers to the program’s implementation from the perspectives of multiple stakeholders.
METHODS: We conducted 28 semi-structured discussions with 70 discussants across the three states, including representatives from state agencies, OHH providers (OTPs and OBOTs), Medicaid health plans, and provider associations. Discussions were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using NVivo. In addition, we reviewed state health home applications, policies, regulatory guidance, reporting, and other available OHH materials. We adapted the Exploration, Preparation, Implementation, and Sustainment (EPIS) model as a guiding framework to examine the collected data, helping us to identify key factors affecting each stage of the OHH implementation.
RESULTS: Overall, discussants reported that the OHH model was implemented successfully and was responsible for substantial improvements in patient care. Contextual factors at both the state level (e.g., legislation, funding, state leadership, program design) and provider level (OHH provider characteristics, leadership, adaptability) affected each stage of implementation of the OHH model. States took a variety of approaches in designing and implementing the model, with facilitators related to gathering stakeholder input, receiving guidance and technical assistance, and tailoring program design to build on the state’s existing care coordination initiatives and provider infrastructure. The OHH model constituted a substantial change for almost all OHH providers in the study, who reported that facilitators to implementation included having goals and workplace culture that were compatible with the OHH model, and having technical support from the state or non-governmental organizations. Some of the main barriers to implementation reported by OHH providers include shortages of primary care providers, dentists, and other providers willing to accept referrals of patients with opioid use disorder; limited community resources to address social determinants of health; challenges related to state-specific program design, such as staffing requirements and reimbursement methodology; care coordination limitations due to confidentiality restrictions and technological barriers; and internal capacity of providers to adopt the new model of care.
CONCLUSIONS: The OHH model appears to have the potential to effectively address the complex needs of individuals with opioid use disorder by providing whole-person care that integrates medical care, behavioral health, and social services and supports. The experiences of Maryland, Rhode Island, and Vermont can guide development and implementation of similar OHH initiatives in other states.
L. Clemans-Cope, J. B. Wishner, E. H. Allen, N. Lallemand, M. Epstein and B. C. Spillman. (2017). Experiences of three states implementing the Medicaid health home model to address opioid use disorder-Case studies in Maryland, Rhode Island, and Vermont. J Subst Abuse Treat, 83, 27-35.