Primary care physicians (PCPs) should lead the charge in the battle against opioid addiction and overdoses, but one of the obstacles preventing that from happening include low payments from insurance companies for such treatment. So says Julian A. Mitton, MD, a senior resident in global medicine and primary care at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, in an opinion piece in STAT.
The tragedy of opioid addiction continues to escalate on a national level, but Mitton argues the solution must be applied at the local level, in the PCP’s office. “My primary care colleagues and I provide longitudinal, community-based care for chronic diseases that require frequent and long-term attention. Addiction is clearly one of these.”
But PCPs are hesitant and Mitton ticks off some of the reasons: as mentioned, small payments from insurers for such treatment, lack of training in medical schools to treat addiction, and the difficulties concerning prescribing the treatment drug buprenorphine, access to which is encumbered by red tape.