• NQF’s Guide Helps You Make a Difference in the Opioid Epidemic with Actionable Guidance to Increase Access to MAT

    In 2017, there were over 70,000 deaths caused by overdoses. Approximately 47 thousand of those deaths were related to opioids, equating to one opioid-related death occurring every 11.4 minutes. Despite its impact and demonstrated success, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) remains greatly underused as a powerful treatment to fight the opioid epidemic.

    MAT is an effective, evidence-based approach to the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD) that uses Food and Drug Administration-approved medications in combination with behavioral therapies. Individuals with OUD who receive certain types of MAT are less likely to die from an overdose, have higher treatment retention rates, demonstrate improved social functioning, and result in better long-term outcomes.

    With support from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), the National Quality Forum (NQF) is pleased to release Enhancing Access to Medication-Assisted Treatment, a practical guide that provides concrete strategies, implementation examples, tools, and resources to assist healthcare delivery systems, practitioners, and payers in expanding the use of MAT.

    “Every day a devastating 130 people die in the U.S. from an opioid overdose,” said Shantanu Agrawal, MD, MPhil, NQF President, and Chief Executive Officer, “Whether a payer, provider, or community organization, we as healthcare leaders must advance every proven strategy for the sake of those affected and our nation. NQF is proud to work alongside leaders like the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) to guide effective change and better outcomes for people.”

    The resource enhances the capacity and efficiency of clinicians to treat more patients with OUD through MAT. Many of the current barriers that prohibit clinicians from implementing MAT, such as societal stigmas, limited resources, and a lack of clinician experience and training, are organizational and require executive-level support from healthcare delivery systems and healthcare insurers alike.

    The Guide was informed by insights from patients and diverse experts including front-line practitioners, healthcare administrators, addiction treatment center staff, payers, pharmacists, community partners, criminal justice system representatives, employer groups, and federal agencies. Healthcare delivery organizations, practitioners, payers, and community organizations are encouraged to use the implementation strategies and resources within the Guide to design, refine, and strengthen their approach to OUD treatment and care.

    For more information, please contact the project staff at qualityinnovation@qualityforum.org.

    Learn about how you can make a difference in the opioid crisis through the actions included in the NQF Medication-Assisted Treatment Guide.

  • Advanced Illness Care