UAMS Received $3 Million to Reimburse Facilities that Provide Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use

By Tim Taylor

The money will allow medical providers to offer treatment for opioid use disorder to patients without insurance or the ability to pay for services. This new effort is an offshoot of MATRIARC (Medication Assisted Treatment Recovery Initiative for Arkansas Rural Communities), a partnership between UAMS’ Psychiatric Research Institute and DHS.

The funds will cover expenses including the cost of medication, hiring peer support specialists, providing treatment services and even travel costs for patients using medication-assisted treatment.

“We are really the stewards of the money, our job is to give it away,” said Michael Mancino, M.D., a professor in the UAMS College of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry who oversees the MATRIARC program. “We are working with clinics already providing medication-assisted treatment to people below the poverty line, so they don’t have to turn anyone away. We look forward to continuing these efforts with previous and new awardees.”

Medication-assisted treatment involves the use of medication to relieve cravings and withdrawal symptoms along with counseling and support to overcome the use of opioids.

The following agencies have been awarded grants to provide office-based medication-assisted treatment for individuals with opioid use disorders: ARISA HEALTH of Springdale; Western Arkansas Counseling and Guidance Center of Fort Smith; Healing Hands Addiction Center of Warren; Ouachita Behavioral Health & Wellness of Hot Springs; Counseling Services of Jacksonville; The Guinn Clinic of El Dorado; Natural State Recovery Centers of Little Rock; Aurora Rehabilitation Clinic of Fayetteville; Compassionate Care Clinic of Searcy; River Valley Medical Wellness of Russellville;  A Better You Med Spa of Springdale; Vaught Care Center of Horatio; True Self Recovery of Rogers; and Wellness Clinic and Healthcare Consulting of Camden. Based on the areas covered by the awarded agencies, 57 out of the state’s 75 counties will have access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders.

Medication-assisted treatment includes methadone, which can only be dispensed through an opiate treatment program; products containing buprenorphine, which require a federal waiver for prescribers; and injectable naltrexone, which does not require special qualifications for prescribing. Research has shown that a combination of medication-assisted treatment and behavioral therapy can successfully treat opioid use disorder and help sustain recovery.