Opioid use disorder treatment and the role of New Jersey Medicaid policy changes: perspectives of office-based buprenorphine providers

Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2023 Sep 3;49(5):606-617. doi: 10.1080/00952990.2023.2234075. Epub 2023 Jul 28.


Background: In the US, seventy percent of drug-related deaths are attributed to opioids. In response to the ongoing opioid crisis, New Jersey's (NJ) Medicaid program implemented the MATrx model to increase treatment access for Medicaid participants with opioid use disorder (OUD). The model's goals include increasing the number of office-based treatment providers, enhancing Medicaid reimbursement for certain treatment services, and elimination of prior authorizations for OUD medications.Objectives: To explore office-based addiction treatment providers' experiences delivering care in the context of statewide policy changes and their perspectives on treatment access changes and remaining barriers.Methods: This qualitative study used purposive sampling to recruit office-based New Jersey medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) providers . Twenty-two providers (11 females, 11 males) discussed treatment experiences since the policy changes in 2019, including evaluations of the current state of OUD care in New Jersey and perceived outcomes of the MATrx model policy changes.Results: Providers reported the MOUD climate in NJ improved as Medicaid implemented policies intended to reduce barriers to care and increase treatment access. Elimination of prior authorizations was noted as important, as it reduced provider burden and allowed greater focus on care delivery. However, barriers remained, including stigma, pharmacy supply issues, and difficulty obtaining injectable or non-generic medication formulations.Conclusion: NJ policies may have improved access to care for Medicaid beneficiaries by reducing barriers to care and supporting providers in prescribing MOUD. Yet, stigma and lack of psychosocial supports still need to be addressed to further improve access and care quality.

Keywords: MOUD; Medicaid; Substance use; addiction treatment; opioid use disorder; primary care; state policy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Buprenorphine* / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicaid
  • New Jersey
  • Opiate Substitution Treatment
  • Opioid-Related Disorders* / drug therapy
  • Policy
  • United States


  • Buprenorphine
  • Analgesics, Opioid