Implementation of a pharmacist care manager model to expand availability of medications for opioid use disorder

Beth M. Deronne, Kara R. Wong, Erica Schultz, Elzie Jones, Erin E. Krebs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Purpose: The rise in opioid prescribing, often for chronic pain management, resulted in an increased prevalence of opioid use disorder (OUD) throughout the United States, including within the Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system. The veteran population has been especially vulnerable to opioid-related harms, but rates of prescribing medications for OUD have been low. Use of care manager models for OUD have increased access to treatment. In this article we provide an overview of a clinical pharmacist care manager (CPCM) model for medications for OUD treatment implemented within the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System. Summary: A CPCM model for medications for OUD was identified as a care model that would address patient and facility barriers to effective OUD treatment. Pharmacists were integral in program development and implementation and served as the main care providers. An interim evaluation of the program established that the proportion of patients with OUD receiving medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) had increased, with use of the program resulting in treatment of 109 unique patients during 625 visits. Key program implementation facilitators included the facility leadership establishing increased use of MOUD as a priority area, identification of a physician champion, and a history of successful expansion of clinical pharmacy specialist practice within the VA system. Implementation barriers included factors related to provider engagement, patient identification, and program support. The CPCM model of provision of MOUD expanded the pharmacist role in buprenorphine management. Conclusion: The need to increase the number of patients receiving MOUD led to the implementation of a CPCM model. The program was effectively implemented into practice and expanded the availability of MOUD, which allowed patients to access treatment in multiple care settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)354-359
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Health-System Pharmacy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 16 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists 2020.


  • buprenorphine
  • collaborative care management
  • opioid-related disorders
  • pharmacists


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