, Volume 25, Issue 9, pp 936-941,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 11 May 2010

The Physician Clinical Support System-Buprenorphine (PCSS-B): a Novel Project to Expand/Improve Buprenorphine Treatment

ABSTRACT

Opioid dependence is largely an undertreated medical condition in the United States. The introduction of buprenorphine has created the potential to expand access to and use of opioid agonist treatment in generalist settings. Physicians, however, often have limited training and experience providing this type of care. Some physicians believe having a mentoring relationship with an experienced provider during their initial introduction to the use of buprenorphine would ease implementation. Our goal was to describe the development, implementation, resources, and evaluation of the Physician Clinical Support System-Buprenorphine (PCSS-B), a federally funded program to improve access to and quality of treatment with buprenorphine. We provide a description of the PCSS-B, a national network of 88 trained physician mentors with expertise in buprenorphine treatment and skills in clinical education. We provide information regarding the use the PCSS-B core services including telephone, email and in-person support, a website, clinical guidances, a warmline and outreach to primary care and specialty organizations. Between July 2005 and July 2009, 67 mentors and 4 clinical experts reported providing mentoring services to 632 participants in 48 states, Washington DC and Puerto Rico. A total of 1,455 contacts were provided through email (45%), telephone (34%) and in-person visits (20%). Seventy-six percent of contacts addressed a clinical issue. Eighteen percent of contacts addressed a logistical issue. The number of contacts per participant ranged from 1–125. Between August 2005 and April 2009 there were 72,822 visits to the PCSS-B website with 179,678 pages viewed. Seven guidances were downloaded more than 1000 times. The warmline averaged more than 100 calls per month. The PCSS-B model provides support for a mentorship program to assist non-specialty physicians in the provision of buprenorphine and may serve as a model for dissemination of other types of care.