Research News Roundup: October 27, 2022

    Health Care Use and Spending for Medicaid Patients Diagnosed with Opioid Use Disorder Receiving Primary Care in Federally Qualified Health Centers and Other Primary Care Settings

    Journal: PLoS One, 2022, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0276066

    Authors: Lauren Peterson, Manoradhan Murugesan, Robert Nocon, Hank Hoang, Joshua Bolton, Neda Laiteerapong, … Jeanne Marsh


    Introduction: This nationwide study builds on prior research, which suggests that Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and other primary care providers are associated with increased access to opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment. We compare health care utilization, spending, and quality for Medicaid patients diagnosed with OUD who receive primary care at FQHCs and Medicaid patients who receive most primary care in other settings, such as physician offices (non-FQHCs). We hypothesized that the integrated care model of FQHCs would be associated with greater access to medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) and/or behavioral health therapy and lower rates of potentially inappropriate co-prescribing.

    Methods: This cross-sectional study examined 2012 Medicaid Analytic eXtract files for patients diagnosed with OUD receiving most (>50%) primary care at FQHCs (N = 37,142) versus non-FQHCs (N = 196,712) in all 50 states and Washington DC. We used propensity score overlap weighting to adjust for measurable confounding between patients who received care at FQHCs versus non-FQHCs and increase generalizability of findings given variation in Medicaid programs and substance use policies across states.

    Results: FQHC patients displayed higher primary care utilization and fee-for-service spending, and similar or lower utilization and fee-for-service spending for other health service categories. Contrary to our hypotheses, non-FQHC patients were more likely to receive timely (≤90 days) MOUD (buprenorphine, methadone, naltrexone, or suboxone) (Relative Risk [RR] = 1.10, 95% CI: 1.07, 1.12) and more likely be retained in medication treatment (>180 days) (RR = 1.12, 95% CI: 1.09, 1.14). However, non-FQHC patients were less likely to receive behavioral health therapy (mental health or substance use therapy) (RR = 0.90, 95% CI: 0.88, 0.92) and less likely to remain in behavioral health treatment (RR = 0.92, 95% CI: 0.89, 0.94). Non-FQHC patients were more likely to fill potentially inappropriate prescriptions of benzodiazepines and opioids after OUD diagnosis (RR = 1.35, 95% CI: 1.30, 1.40).

    Conclusions: Observed patterns suggest that Medicaid patients diagnosed with OUD who obtained primary care at FQHCs received more integrated care compared to non-FQHC patients. Greater care integration may be associated with increased access to behavioral health therapy and quality of care (lower potentially inappropriate co-prescribing) but not necessarily greater access to MOUD.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    The Impact of HDHPS on Service Use and Spending for Substance Use Disorders

    Journal: The American Journal of Managed Care, 2022, doi: 10.37765/ajmc.2022.89250

    Authors: Matthew D. Eisenberg, Alene Kennedy-Hendricks, Cameron Schilling, Alisa B. Busch, Haiden A. Huskamp, Elizabeth A. Stuart, … Colleen L. Barry


    Objectives: Although high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) reduce health care spending, higher deductibles may lead to forgone care. Our goal was to determine the effects of HDHPs on the use of and spending on substance use disorder (SUD) services.

    Study design: We used difference-in-differences models to compare service use and spending for treating SUD among enrollees who were newly offered an HDHP relative to enrollees offered only traditional plan options throughout the study period.

    Methods: We used deidentified commercial claims data from OptumLabs (2007-2017) to identify a sample of 28,717,236 person-years (2.2% with a diagnosed SUD). The main independent measure was an indicator for being offered an HDHP. The main dependent measures were the probability of (and spending associated with) using SUD services and specific treatment types.

    Results: Enrollees were 6.6% (P < .001) less likely to use SUD services after being offered an HDHP relative to the comparison group. Reductions were concentrated in inpatient, intermediate, and ambulatory care, as well as medication use. Being offered an HDHP was associated with a decrease of 21% (P < .001) on health plan spending and an increase of 14% (P < .01) on out-of-pocket spending.

    Conclusions: Offering an HDHP was associated with a reduction in SUD service use and a shift in spending from the plan to the enrollee. In the context of the US drug epidemic, these study findings highlight a concern that the movement toward HDHPs may be exacerbating undertreatment of SUD.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    Opioid Dose Trajectories and Associations with Mortality, Opioid Use Disorder, Continued Opioid Therapy, and Health Plan Disenrollment

    Journal: JAMA Network Open, 2022, doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.34671

    Authors: Ingrid A. Binswanger, Susan M. Shetterly, Stanley Xu, Komal J. Narwaney, David L. McClure, Deborah J. Rinehart, … Jason M. Glanz


    Importance: Uncertainty remains about the longer-term benefits and harms of different opioid management strategies, such as tapering and dose escalation. For instance, opioid tapering could help patients reduce opioid exposure to prevent opioid use disorder, but patients may also seek care elsewhere and engage in nonprescribed opioid use.

    Objective: To evaluate the association between opioid dose trajectories observed in practice and patient outcomes.

    Design, setting, and participants: This retrospective cohort study was conducted in 3 health systems in Colorado and Wisconsin. The study population included patients receiving long-term opioid therapy between 50 and 200 morphine milligram equivalents between August 1, 2014, and July 31, 2017. Follow-up ended on December 31, 2019. Data were analyzed from January 2020 to August 2022.

    Exposures: Group-based trajectory modeling identified 5 dosing trajectories over 1 year: 1 decreasing, 1 high-dose increasing, and 3 stable.

    Main outcomes and measures: Primary outcomes assessed after the trajectory period were 1-year all-cause mortality, incident opioid use disorder, continued opioid therapy at 1 year, and health plan disenrollment. Associations were tested using Cox proportional hazards regression and log-binomial models, adjusting for baseline covariates.

    Results: A total of 3913 patients (mean [SD] age, 59.2 [14.4] years; 2767 White non-Hispanic [70.7%]; 2237 female patients [57.2%]) were included in the study. Compared with stable trajectories, the decreasing dose trajectory was negatively associated with opioid use disorder (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 0.40; 95% CI, 0.29-0.55) and continued opioid therapy (site 1: adjusted relative risk [aRR], 0.39; 95% CI, 0.34-0.44), but was positively associated with health plan disenrollment (aHR, 1.66; 95% CI, 1.24-2.22). The decreasing trajectory was not associated with mortality (aHR, 1.28; 95% CI, 0.87-1.86). In contrast, the high-dose increasing trajectory was positively associated with mortality (aHR, 2.19; 95% CI, 1.44-3.32) and opioid use disorder (aHR, 1.81; 95% CI, 1.39-2.37) but was not associated with disenrollment (aHR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.56-1.42) or continued opioid therapy (site 1: aRR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.94-1.03).

    Conclusions and relevance: In this cohort study, decreasing opioid dose was associated with reduced risk of opioid use disorder and continued opioid therapy but increased risk of disenrollment compared with stable dosing, whereas the high-dose increasing trajectory was associated with an increased risk of mortality and opioid use disorder. These findings can inform opioid management decision-making.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    Journal: BMC Public Health, 2022, doi: 10.1186/s12889-022-14367-3

    Authors: Ellen Boaky, Omar Dzaye, John Erhabor, Ngozi Osuji, Olufunmilayo Obisesan, Albert D. Osei, … Michael J. Blaha


    Background: The impact of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) initial enforcement policy on flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes and subsequent notice for the removal of flavored disposable electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) such as Puff Bar from the market has not been well evaluated. We, therefore, sought to examine the impact of the e-cigarette flavor-related policy changes on the online popularity of Puff Bar, a prototypic disposable e-cigarette.

    Methods: We tabulated the total weekly Google search queries originating from the U.S. for “Puff Bar” and “Puff Bars” from January 1, 2019, to December 31, 2021. We divided the three years into four (4) distinct periods using the dates of the initial announcement to ban non-tobacco flavored e-cigarettes (September 11, 2019), the finalization of the FDA enforcement policy on cartridge-based flavors (January 2, 2020), and the notice for the market withdrawal of flavored disposable e-cigarettes (July 20, 2020) as reference time points. Then, we used piecewise linear regression and autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) to compare the trends in searches for Puff Bar for the four (4) periods.

    Results: Before the initial announcement to ban non-tobacco flavored e-cigarettes, online search queries (per 10 million Google searches) for Puff Bar were slowly rising at a rate of 0.58 queries per week (95%CI: -0.80 – 1.97). Following the announcement, searches for Puff Bar increased significantly at a rate of 16.61 queries per week (95%CI: 12.13 – 21.10). The rate of searches for Puff Bar then increased exponentially at 40.08 queries per week (95%CI: 27.32 – 52.84) following the FDA flavor ban, which excluded disposable e-cigarettes. Then, the rate of increase declined but remained relatively stable at 3.67 queries per week (95%CI: 0.69-6.65) until the FDA’s notice to remove flavored Puff Bar products from the market. Following this notice, the rate of searches for Puff Bar significantly declined (rate: -4.97 queries per week; 95%CI: -5.40–4.54).

    Conclusions: The tracking of online search data demonstrates rapid public recognition of the FDA’s announcements of tobacco regulatory actions.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    Effect of Implementation Facilitation to Promote Adoption of Medications for Addiction Treatment in US HIV Clinics: A Randomized Clinical Trial

    Journal: JAMA Network Open. 2022, doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.36904

    Authors: Jennifer Edelman, Geliang Gan, James Dziura, Denise Esserman, Elizabeth Porter, William C. Becker … David A. Fiellin


    Importance: Medications for addiction treatment (MAT) are inconsistently offered in HIV clinics.

    Objective: To evaluate the impact of implementation facilitation (hereafter referred to as “facilitation”), a multicomponent implementation strategy, on increasing provision of MAT for opioid use disorder (MOUD), alcohol use disorder (MAUD), and tobacco use disorder (MTUD).

    Design, Setting, and Participants: Conducted from July 26, 2016, through July 25, 2020, the Working with HIV Clinics to adopt Addiction Treatment using Implementation Facilitation (WHAT-IF?) study used an unblinded, stepped wedge design to sequentially assign each of 4 HIV clinics in the northeastern US to cross over from control (ie, baseline practices) to facilitation (ie, intervention) and then evaluation and maintenance periods every 6 months. Participants were adult patients with opioid, alcohol, or tobacco use disorder. Data analysis was performed from August 2020 to September 2022.

    Interventions: Multicomponent facilitation.

    Main Outcomes and Measures: Outcomes, assessed using electronic health record data, were provision of MAT among patients with opioid, alcohol, or tobacco use disorder during the evaluation (primary outcome) and maintenance periods compared with the control period.

    Results: Among 3647 patients, the mean (SD) age was 49 (12) years, 1814 (50%) were Black, 781 (22%) were Hispanic, and 1407 (39%) were female; 121 (3%) had opioid use disorder, 126 (3%) had alcohol use disorder, and 420 (12%) had tobacco use disorder. Compared with the control period, there was no increase in provision of MOUD with facilitation during the evaluation period (243 patients [27%; 95% CI, 22%-32%] vs 135 patients [28%; 95% CI, 22%-35%]; P = .59) or maintenance period (198 patients [29%; 95% CI, 22%-36%]; P = .48). The change in provision of MAUD from the control period to the evaluation period was not statistically significant (251 patients [8%; 95% CI, 5%-12%] vs 112 patients [13%; 95% CI, 8%-21%]; P = .11); however, the difference increased and became significant during the maintenance period (180 patients [17%; 95% CI, 12%-24%]; P = .009). There were significant increases in provision of MTUD with facilitation during both the evaluation (810 patients [33%; 95% CI, 30%-36%] vs 471 patients [40%; 95% CI, 36%-45%]; P = .005) and maintenance (643 patients [38%; 95% CI, 34%-41%]; P = .047) periods.

    Conclusions and Relevance: In this randomized clinical trial, facilitation led to increased provision of MTUD, delayed improvements in MAUD, and no improvements in MOUD in HIV clinics. Enhanced strategies, potentially including clinic and patient incentives, especially for MOUD, may be needed to further increase provision of MAT in HIV clinics.

    Trial Registration: Identifier: NCT02907944

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.


    October 2022