Although medications such as buprenorphine effectively combat opioid addiction, less than 30 percent of potential users receive them nationwide. New Jersey sought to increase prescription numbers with three Medicaid reforms that took effect in 2019. The reforms:

  • Removed prior authorization requirements for buprenorphine prescriptions
  • Increased reimbursement rates for in-office opioid addiction treatment
  • Established regional centers of excellence for addiction treatment

Medicaid records showed steady increases in buprenorphine prescriptions before 2019, but the rate of growth increased by 36 percent after the reforms took effect, and this increased rate of growth persisted until the end of the study period in December 2020. A similar trend affected caregiver behavior. The percentage of caregivers prescribing buprenorphine had been rising before the reforms took effect, but it increased faster after their implementation. To read the full story.