Background: Opioid use disorders (OUDs) are reaching epidemic proportions in the United States, and many geographic areas struggle with a persistent shortage in availability of opioid agonist treatment. Over the past 5 years, Vermont addiction medicine physicians and public health leaders have responded to these challenges by developing an integrated hub-and-spoke opioid treatment network.
Methods: In the present report, we review the development, implementation, and impact of this novel hub-and-spoke model for expanding OUD treatment in Vermont.
Results: Vermont's hub-and-spoke system has been implemented state-wide and well-received by providers and patients alike. Adoption of this model has been associated with substantial increases in the state's OUD treatment capacity, with Vermont now having the highest capacity for treating OUD in the United States with 10.56 people in treatment per 1000. There has been a 64% increase in physicians waivered to prescribe buprenorphine, a 50% increase in patients served per waivered physician, and a robust bidirectional transfer of patients between hubs and spokes based upon clinical need. Challenges to system implementation and important future directions are discussed.
Conclusions: Development and implementation of a hub-and-spoke system of care has contributed substantially to improvements in opioid agonist treatment capacity in Vermont. This system may serve as a model for other states grappling with the current opioid use epidemic.