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Increasing Access to Buprenorphine for Opioid Use Disorder in Primary Care: an Assessment of Provider Incentives.

Kelley AT, Wilcox J, Baylis JD, Crossnohere NL, Magel J, Jones AL, Gordon AJ, Bridges JFP. Increasing Access to Buprenorphine for Opioid Use Disorder in Primary Care: an Assessment of Provider Incentives. Journal of general internal medicine. 2023 Jul 1; 38(9):2147-2155.

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BACKGROUND: Primary care providers (PCPs) are essential to increasing access to office-based buprenorphine medication treatment for opioid use disorder (B-MOUD). Barriers to B-MOUD prescribing are well-documented, but there is little information regarding incentives to overcome these barriers. OBJECTIVE: To identify optimal incentives for PCPs to promote B-MOUD prescribing and compare incentive preferences across provider and practice characteristics. DESIGN: We surveyed PCPs using best-worst scaling (BWS) to prioritize seven potential incentives for B-MOUD prescribing (monetary compensation, paid vacation, protected time, professional development, reduced workload, service recognition, clinical resources). We then used a direct elicitation approach to determine preferred incentive levels (e.g., monetary thresholds) and types (e.g., specific clinical resources). PARTICIPANTS: Primary care physicians and advanced practice providers (APPs) at a large Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare system. MAIN MEASURES: B-MOUD prescribing incentive preferences and relative preference levels using descriptive statistics and conditional logistic regression with relative importance scale transformation (coefficients sum to 100, higher coefficient = greater importance). KEY RESULTS: Fifty-three PCPs responded (73% response), including 47% APPs and 36% from community-based clinics. Reduced workload (relative importance score = 26.8), protected time (18.7), and clinical resources (16.8) were significantly more preferred (Ps < 0.001) than professional development (10.5), paid vacation (10.3), or service recognition (1.5). Relative importance of monetary compensation varied between physicians (12.6) and APPs (17.5) and between PCPs located at a medical center (11.4) versus community clinic (22.3). APPs were more responsive than physicians to compensation increases of $5000 and $12,000 but less responsive to $25,000; trends were similar for medical center versus community clinic PCPs. The most frequently requested clinical resource was on-demand consult access to an addiction specialist. CONCLUSIONS: Interventions promoting workload reductions, protected time, and clinical resources could increase access to B-MOUD in primary care. Monetary incentives may be additionally needed to improve B-MOUD prescribing among APPs and within community clinics.

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