Behavioral health services are provided to patients who have behavioral problems like substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, mental instability, physical and emotional abuse. Also, there are strategies for physicians seeking to help patients with opioid use disorder access specialized care.
Kelly Clark, MD, President of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, said that physicians need to primarily perform a traditional assessment of the patient to identify specific treatment needs before they refer patients to specialist care.
He shared 3 strategies to help physicians wanting to send patients with opioid use disorder to specialist:
1) Using search tools to find specialists:
ASAM’s website has a list of specialists that is searchable by name, city state and ZIP code. They can be filtered by board certifications like preventive medicine, neurology, psychiatry or addiction medicine.
2) Develop relationship with specialists:
Physicians should tap their connections and relationships through state and county medical societies to locate specialist treating opioid use disorder.
3) Learn how to provide specialized treatment:
Physicians should take an eight-hour course to gain certification for administering buprenorphine. They can also take 40-hour course by ASAM, highlighting the basics of addiction medicine.
Dr. Clark believes all doctors can participate in the fight against opioid epidemic.