Financial Incentives for Hospitals Boost Rapid Changes to Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

In 2019, Pennsylvania established a voluntary incentive program called the Opioid Hospital Quality Improvement Program, aimed at improving the rate at which patients with opioid use disorder receive follow-up treatment after emergency department care. In order to analyze the effectiveness of this police, a study led by PISC Postdoctoral Fellow Austin Kilaru, MD, MSHP, and co-authored by PISC Executive Committee member Zachary Meisel, MD, MPH, conducted interviews with the leaders of 20 Pennsylvania hospitals and health systems. It found that the financial incentives did in fact encourage hospitals to enact rapid system and practice changes to support treatment for opioid use disorder for patients visiting the ED, and also found that it was difficult for small hospitals to justify the investment such improvements would require. "Policy makers have recognized that strengthening the linkage from the ED to treatment is an opportunity to combat the opioid epidemic," said Meisel. "Offering financial incentives provides momentum for efforts to improve treatment access for opioid use disorder."

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