Neighborhood Health Plan (NHP), a not-for-profit health plan in Massachusetts, has announced a series of initiatives to increase access to treatment for substance use disorders. Most notably, NHP is providing financial incentives to encourage more prescribers to be trained and certified to prescribe buprenorphine products.
NHP has announced it will reimburse prescribers $500—roughly the cost of required training—for earning their buprenorphine product dispensing certification. Prescribers can receive an additional $2,000 from the health plan if they provide documentation showing they have treated at least 10 patients after becoming certified. NHP hopes to recruit up to 100 prescribers with the financial incentives, and Tony Dodek, MD, the plan’s chief medical officer, says NHP received several inquiries about the program from prospective prescribers within days of its announcement.
“It’s a complex problem, so we’re trying to address it from as many angles as we can,” Dodek tells Behavioral Healthcare Executive.
Among the other initiatives announced by NHP:
- The health plan is hiring two recovery coaches to work with patients as part of their follow-up care. The coaches will work with an average of 30 patients at various stages of recovery at a time, Dodek says.
- NHP is waiving member copays for naloxone. Pharmacists will be reminded to notify plan members they are eligible for free naloxone supplies when they pick up high-dose narcotic painkilling prescription medications.
- NHP also is offering a benefit design that encourages members to seek alternatives to narcotics. For accounts that adopt that benefit design, NHP is waiving copays for alternatives to prescription painkillers, such as chiropractic care, acupuncture and physical therapy.