An Evaluation of Whether Medical Savings are Associated with Expanding Opioid Maintenance Therapy for Heroin Addiction in Baltimore City
August 28, 2007
This is the final report in a series exploring whether the expansion of buprenorphine as a strategy for battling opioid (e.g., heroin) addiction is cost-effective, and is a summary and synthesis of the four previous reports regarding methadone and buprenorphine treatments for opioid dependence. This study considers the medical expenditures (through Medicaid) correlated to heroin treatment in Baltimore City so that such estimates may be used to determine the impact of expanding buprenorphine. Buprenorphine was not studied directly, except via a secondary source literature review, because the therapy is not yet widely prescribed in Medicaid. Overall, the four reports indicate that expanding opioid maintenance therapy (OMT) does have the potential to save the publicly financed health care system money by reducing heroin-associated morbidity in Medicaid and other insured and uninsured populations. The report also estimates that Baltimore City could save over $4,000,000.00 per year if utilization of OMT were expanded.
Also in this series of reports are: Heroin Addiction Treatment Correlates in Maryland; Review of Cost-Benefit and Cost-Effectiveness Literature for Methadone or Buprenorphine as a Treatment for Opiate Addiction; Opioid Exposure in Maryland Hospitals; and Comparing Pre-Treatment to Post-Treatment Medicaid Utilization in Individuals Who Enter Methadone Therapy.