Why Our Staff Became Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Advocates

Why Our Staff Became Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Advocates

In October, the AZZLY® Lake Nona staff attended the Certified Medication Assisted Treatment Advocate (CMA) Training Course. The course ran eight hours and was a pre-conference event as part of the 2019 American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence (AATOD) conference in Orlando.

The event description reads as follows: “The leading advocate and recovery organization for medication assisted treatment, the National Alliance for Medication Assisted Treatment (NAMA Recovery), has developed this training, believing that professionals, patients and families of patients can come together to work for a better understanding of methadone and medication assisted treatment.”

AZZLY serves addiction treatment and behavioral healthcare providers. For Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) and Substance Use Disorder (SUD), we designed a specialty specific software, AZZLY Rize to support medication assisted treatment (MAT) programs, as well as for organizations that provide only abstinence-based therapy for patients with OUD and SUD. 

You might wonder why, then, if we serve abstinence programs, have we encouraged our staff to become CMA certified? 

Because leading government agencies, SAMHSA, and leading industry associations, NAATP, AATOD, recognize and have published that Medication Assisted Treatment, is best practice in serving this patient population. Is it meant for all individuals? No. But it is meant to be available as an option for those that need it in their individualized treatment plan. 

Part of providing the best solution for treatment providers is to keep up to date on the newest research and the shifting trends in treatment. For us, this includes MAT. The science behind MAT has improved in the last few decades. What was once just methadone now includes buprenorphine and naltrexone combinations such as Suboxone® and Vivitrol®. Overdose-reversing naloxone is carried by EMS professionals in dozens of states. Some studies have suggested that treatment programs featuring buprenorphine have higher retention and lower relapse than those without. The best outcomes combine counseling during the life of treatment.

That is not to say that MAT is without its pitfalls. These can include:

However, to continue providing up-to-date software and services to addiction treatment, we must continue to educate ourselves and stay aware of the evidence-based best practices.

We also continue to affirm the importance of therapy and counseling in the treatment of OUD. We have written in the past that the emphasis of MAT should be “medication assisted treatment.” It is our position that in addiction treatment, withdrawal-curbing medication should never be the be-all end-all of treatment. Proving medical necessity is very important in individualized care plans.

Utilizing a software platform that provides a single seamless solution for prescribers, counselors and billers helps. Integrated e-Prescribing, EPCS, medication management, withdrawal management, and state PDMP check are all must-haves for those looking for an electronic health record (EHR) during the induction, stabilization and maintenance period of a MAT program. 

Front desks can get clogged in a busy clinic setting so features like a text appointment reminder, e-check-in, shared encounters so support staff can start a visit and allow for the physician provider to review, edit and sign off reduces a 15 minute process to 4-5 minutes. More time with the patient. Less time searching or clicking in an EHR. Having auto- claims tied to an encounter to accurately code severity is a huge time saver for medical and billing staff.

Today’s technology is smart. It does take a partnership of sharing real use cases with a technologist to get the expected outcome that makes a staff member use an EHR. It takes a company that listens to its users.

Take the next step. Fill out this form and schedule a brief discovery call with one of EHR and Billing Specialists.