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An Interdisciplinary Patient-Centered Approach to OUD

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Our Center flourishes within the UMass Chan Medical School Department of Family Medicine and Community Health (FMCH), which offers a fellowship in Clinical Health Psychology in Primary Care preparing psychologists for integrated, collaborative healthcare. 

Dr. Fleishman

One of our recent fellows,  Joan Fleishman, PsyD, is the Behavioral Health Clinical and Research Director in the Department of Family Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). She recently co-authored a paper in the Annals of Family Medicine. “Interdisciplinary Management of Opioid Use Disorder in Primary Care” describes a Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) program in the Pacific Northwest. The paper highlights the value of including behavioral health as part of the MAT intervention for OUD management.

Syringe and meds

MAT is much in the news as the country tries to come to terms with its opioid use disorder epidemic.  Medications such as buprenorphine offer patients struggling with OUD the possibility of leaving the health and social side effects of their addiction behind them.  Unlike the older medication, methadone, the newer medications do not need to be given in the confines of a medication-specific clinic but can be provided in primary care practices where clinicians often have a long-term relationship with patients and an understanding of their medical history and behavioral patterns.

 Care Manager and patient

But it is not always easy for practices to manage this process.  The psychosocial issues surrounding opioid use disorder are significant, and the stigma associated with addiction can make the adoption of MAT problematic for a primary care practice. Dr. Fleishman and the paper’s co-authors work in an FQHC where PCPs, nurse care managers, and behavioral health clinicians work as a team to support those patients struggling with OUD.  It is an outstanding example of the approach CIPC advocates for in our training courses and in the work our faculty does: using patient-centered care management and integrated health teams to create biopsychosocial supports for co-morbid medical and mental health issues.

You can download a copy of the paper by clicking here.