Courage to Care: Path to an Opioid-Free Future

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Courage to Care: Path to an Opioid-Free Future

Courage to Care presentation

CDPHP, Congressman Paul Tonko, Community Care Physicians Join Forces to Combat Opioid Epidemic 

ALBANY, NY (March 27, 2024) CDPHP, Congressman Paul Tonko, and Community Care Physicians today announced an initiative to combat the opioid epidemic plaguing our community and country. Courage to Care: Path to an Opioid-Free Future will create greater access to substance use services by increasing the number of primary care providers who treat those with opioid use disorder.

Fast Facts (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention):

  • More than 1 million Americans have died from a drug overdose since 1999.

  • Last year, 110,000 Americans died from an opioid-related overdose (up 2.8 percent from previous year).

  • Last year, 3,500 New Yorkers died from an opioid-related overdose (up 3.5 percent from previous year).

  • More than 75 percent of drug overdose deaths involved an opioid.

  • Only one in five patients with documented opioid use disorder is receiving treatment.

Last year, Congressman Tonko passed a bipartisan bill that expands access to life-saving addiction treatment medications. The new federal law removes the so-called “X-Waiver” physicians needed to prescribe buprenorphine and other medication assisted treatments. The law also removes limits on the number of patients a prescriber can treat. However, due to a variety of issues, including the stigma associated with individuals suffering from opioid use disorder (OUD), the number of doctors who prescribe medication assisted treatments, such as buprenorphine, remains low.

“By launching Courage to Care, we are taking a critical step towards combating our overdose crisis by empowering primary care providers to offer life-saving medication-assisted treatments to those suffering from opioid use disorder. Until the passage of my Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act, federal law made it easier to prescribe potentially addictive opioids than to treat someone with opioid use disorder. That’s why for years, I’ve been working through legislation like the MAT Act to break down bureaucratic barriers and expand access to vital addiction treatments. Now, we must continue our work to reduce the stigma surrounding opioid use disorder and encourage more providers to utilize these evidence-based treatments, ultimately saving lives and supporting healthier communities. I’m grateful to CDPHP and Community Care Physicians for their partnership in this vital initiative, and I look forward to seeing the lifesaving impact this program will have across our Capital Region.” said Congressman Tonko.

CDPHP, Congressman Tonko, and Community Care Physicians today urged local primary care providers to begin the lifesaving work of treating patients with OUD.

Dr. Madeline Haas started the Medication Assisted Treatment Program at Community Care Physicians – Albany Family Medicine back in 2020. She treats opioid use disorder like any other disease, such as diabetes, and says it’s incredibly rewarding to see the progress patients make once receiving treatment.

“It is a privilege to partner with patients in their journey to recovery. Patients with opioid use disorder come to us highly motivated, vulnerable, and open, having emerged from a traumatic period in their lives. Being able to offer patients safe and effective medications from the comfort of their own primary care office breaks down barriers to treatment and rebuilds trust in the healthcare system that helps to improve their health overall.” said Dr. Haas.

CDPHP is providing a financial incentive to physicians who treat patients with OUD. Under the CDPHP Enhanced Primary Care program, a value-based payment model that rewards physicians for high quality care, doctors treating patients with an OUD can earn a bonus of up to $188 per visit on top of their normal reimbursement rate when treating patients with OUD.

“CDPHP has a long history of paying doctors for doing the right thing,” said CDPHP president and CEO, Dr. John D. Bennett. “Today, we are proud to announce that CDPHP is putting its money where its mouth is and providing a financial incentive to those doctors who are willing to treat patients with opioid use disorder. Together with our partners at Community Care Physicians, I look forward to increasing access to these vital services that have been proven to save lives.” added Bennett.

“As a practicing pharmacist and member of the NYS Assembly Health and Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Committees, I see firsthand the challenges that those who are seeking access to substance use disorders face. This is why I appreciate the work of Congressman Tonko for advancing the bipartisan legislation to remove the "X" waiver which was a large barrier to access to care. Additionally, the efforts of CDPHP to encourage providers to embrace this new opportunity makes perfect sense and is consistent with the approach of CDPHP, which has always been to make sure that the patient care comes first. Substance use disorder is a health care issue and I will continue my work on the state level to combat the opioid epidemic and thank all of the partners in this effort." said Assemblymember John T. McDonald III, RPh.

"This is another way to make treatment more accessible to people who want to get their lives back on track but need some help doing it. I'm grateful that CDPHP and Community Care Physicians are emphasizing addiction services, and I want to remind people that confiding in their primary care provider is a trustworthy, safe way to begin their journey toward a more rewarding, more fulfilling life. They're ready to help you," said Senator Jacob Ashby.

CDPHP is hosting a four-part webinar series to promote the treatment of substance use disorders by primary care providers. The educational events will offer the latest information, data, and strategies for identifying and treating patients with substance use disorders with a special emphasis on medication assisted treatment. Providers can up to four CME credits by attending these events. Providers can register for the webinars here.


About CDPHP® 

Established in 1984, CDPHP is a physician-founded, member-focused and community-based not-for-profit health plan that offers high-quality affordable health insurance plans to members in 36 counties throughout New York. CDPHP is also on Facebook, X, LinkedIn, and Instagram.  

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