Cover: Association Between Hospital Adoption of an Emergency Department Treatment Pathway for Opioid Use Disorder and Patient Initiation of Buprenorphine After Discharge

Association Between Hospital Adoption of an Emergency Department Treatment Pathway for Opioid Use Disorder and Patient Initiation of Buprenorphine After Discharge

Published in: JAMA Health Forum, Volume 4, No. 3 (March 2023). doi: 10.1001/jamahealthforum.2023.0245

Posted on rand.org Apr 20, 2023

by Keisha T. Solomon, Jason O'Connor, Jason B. Gibbons, Austin S. Kilaru, Kenneth A. Feder, Lingshu Xue, Brendan Saloner, Elizabeth A. Stuart, Evan S. Cole, Eric Hulsey, et al.

Importance

Emergency department (ED)-based initiation of buprenorphine has been shown to increase engagement in outpatient treatment and reduce the risk of subsequent opioid overdose; however, rates of buprenorphine treatment in the ED and follow-up care for opioid use disorder (OUD) remain low in the US. The Opioid Hospital Quality Improvement Program (O-HQIP), a statewide financial incentive program designed to increase engagement in OUD treatment for Medicaid-enrolled patients who have ED encounters, has the potential to increase ED-initiated buprenorphine treatment.

Objective

To evaluate the association between hospitals attesting to an ED buprenorphine treatment O-HQIP pathway and patients' subsequent initiation of buprenorphine treatment.

Design, Setting, and Participants

This cohort study included Pennsylvania patients aged 18 to 64 years with continuous Medicaid enrollment 6 months before their OUD ED encounter and at least 30 days after discharge between January 1, 2016, and December 31, 2020. Patients with a claim for medication for OUD 6 months before their index encounter were excluded.Exposures Hospital implementation of an ED buprenorphine treatment O-HQIP pathway.

Main Outcomes and Measures

The main outcome was patients' receipt of buprenorphine within 30 days of their index OUD ED visit. Between August 2021 and January 2023, data were analyzed using a difference-in-differences method to evaluate the association between hospitals' O-HQIP attestation status and patients' treatment with buprenorphine after ED discharge.

Results

The analysis included 17,428 Medicaid-enrolled patients (female, 43.4%; male, 56.6%; mean [SD] age, 37.4 [10.8] years; Black, 17.5%; Hispanic, 7.9%; White, 71.6%; other race or ethnicity, 3.0%) with OUD seen at O-HQIP-attesting or non-O-HQIP-attesting hospital EDs. The rate of prescription fills for buprenorphine within 30 days of an OUD ED discharge in the O-HQIP attestation hospitals before the O-HQIP intervention was 5%. The O-HQIP attestation was associated with a statistically significant increase (2.6 percentage points) in prescription fills for buprenorphine within 30 days of an OUD ED discharge (ß, 0.026; 95% CI, 0.005-0.047).

Conclusions and Relevance

In this cohort study, the O-HQIP was associated with an increased initiation of buprenorphine in patients with OUD presenting to the ED. These findings suggest that statewide incentive programs may effectively improve outcomes for patients with OUD.

Research conducted by

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