AATOD’s Five-Year Plan
After several years of consideration, the DEA released new mobile van regulations on June 28, 2021. In our judgment, AATOD sees three broad applications in using such vans. The first pertains to the more standard use of such vans, which extends the reach of OTPs in surrounding communities. The DEA has simplified the process of developing such vans, although other issues must be considered, including the purchase price of these mobile components. Additionally, state Medicaid Authorities need to develop a rate reimbursement package for the services that are offered through these van units.
The second broad application is how such vans could work with the justice system. In this case, the OTPs would work with the SOTAs as well as the Departments of Corrections. The goal would be to have the OTP dispatch such vans to correctional facilities, including jails and prisons, where the OTP van personnel would induct patients onto one of the three federally approved medications to treat opioid use disorder and would maintain inmates on these medications until the time of their release. These patients/inmates would also receive additional clinical services to support the use of these medications during their period of incarceration and transition back into the community. Van personnel or correctional program personnel would work in cooperation with program personnel to coordinate a seamless handoff to a community-based provider so patients can be admitted into the OTP or a DATA 2000 practice upon release in an effort to continue treatment.
Illustratively, the New York State legislature passed a law that will require all New York State correctional facilities to provide medication-assisted treatment to inmates with opioid use disorder. This will take effect in October 2022 and we will work with our New York State associates to bring this to fruition.
The third application would be to use such vans to provide, expand, and enhance access to care for people with opioid use disorder in residential settings. These settings could include recovery homes, which are classified as medication free facilities, skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes, in addition to many other site needs.
AATOD will also use its resources to promulgate the expanded use of mobile vans through training webinars and policy guidance. This will be a concerted effort in collaboration with OTPs, SOTAs, in addition to SAMHSA and the DEA. The next several years within this five-year strategic planning period will mark a major effort in implementing the new regulations and guidance that were provided to the field in 2021.