New regional policymaker guide for choosing most cost effective coverage options for opioid addiction treatments

As we learned in a standing-room only plenary session at last year’s CSG/ERC Annual Meeting in Baltimore, opioid addiction rates have skyrocketed in recent years, taxing the capacity of treatment programs across the ERC region and beyond. We also heard from the New England Comparative Effectiveness Public Advisory Council (CEPAC) about exciting new research comparing opioid addiction treatment options for both clinical and cost effectiveness. CEPAC’s mission is to produce actionable information to aid regional policymakers in the medical policy decision-making process. CEPAC includes researchers, clinicians and patient advocates from New England states who, twice a year, drill down into the research around treatment options for a condition or innovation, evaluate effectiveness and costs, and vote on whether there is sufficient evidence to recommend each option’s use.

A new CEPAC report, An Action Guide for Management of Opioid Dependence: Next Steps for Payers and Policymakers, gives specific tools to support the most effective options and build treatment capacity to address this epidemic. Among the successful tools for policymakers seeking to expand capacity for opioid addiction treatment are pilot programs to expand methadone treatment in office-based settings, jail diversion programs for non-violent offenders, and recommendations about medication coverage.

CEPAC’s opioid addiction treatment guide joins others for policymakers across many conditions and innovations including ADHD, atrial fibrillation, community health workers, depression, sleep apnea and Type 2 diabetes. The guides consider the prevalence of the condition, current coverage across the region, most effective options, and the budgetary impact across New England. In addition to policymakers, CEPAC publishes decision guides for patients facing these conditions. At their May meeting in Boston, CEPAC will consider innovations to integrate behavioral health and primary care.