Community health centers play an important role in efforts to address the opioid epidemic and in many communities, they are on the front lines as important sources of treatment for those with opioid use disorder (OUD). A new issue brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation presents findings from a 2018 survey of community health centers on health center activities related to the prevention and treatment of OUD. Survey responses indicate that health centers have expanded treatment services in response to the escalating crisis, and nearly half (48%) of health centers provide medications as part of medication-assisted treatment (MAT), considered to be the most effective OUD treatment. Still, treatment capacity challenges remain. In addition, health centers in Medicaid expansion states seem to be more equipped to respond to the epidemic in their states than are those in non-expansion states.
The report was authored by researchers at Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University (GW) and the Kaiser Family Foundation. Additional funding support was provided by the RCHN Community Health Foundation.