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FORE Awards Grants to Assess COVID-19 Impact on OUD Treatment

March 16, 2021

The Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts (FORE) on Tuesday announced that it is providing $1.3 million in grants for six organizations to assess temporary regulatory relaxations and policy changes that were enacted to ease access to treatment for opioid use disorder without in-person interactions.

Use of telehealth, allowing take-home methadone doses and changes to toxicology screening were among the policy changes put into place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have a short window of time to determine which policy changes are working to improve access, and how these policies improve or lessen equitable access to care, so we can develop longer term, evidence-based policies that sustain access to better care beyond the pandemic,” FORE president Karen A. Scott, MD, MPH, said in a news release.

The organizations receiving grant funds:

Bipartisan Policy Center ($250,000) will establish an Opioid Crisis Task Force that includes industry experts and former federal and state officials, who will be tasked with developing recommendations for federal policies to reduce overdose death rates.

RAND Corporation ($358,422) will study changes in buprenorphine prescribing, and how the changes affected access to care and treatment outcomes among underserved populations.

University of Pittsburgh ($100,000) will look at how 45 primary care providers, hospitals, community health centers and SUD treatment providers that were designated as Centers of Excellence for Opioid Use Disorder implemented COVID-19 policies related to providing medications and telehealth services.

NYU Grossman School of Medicine ($274,999) will study how COVID-19-related policy changes affected OUD treatment, particularly for Black and Latinx patients, at 660 outpatient and opioid treatment programs across the state.

University of Arizona ($230,357) will focus on policies around providing medications for OUD and telehealth with regards to access and other issues that affect tribal, rural and remote communities, and other communities of color.

RTI International ($125,621) will evaluate how nine grantees who received FORE Recovery Support Services grants in 2020 were able to preserve access to recovery supports with social distancing requirements in place.

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