NAABT Patient/Physician Matching System A Success
Launched in September 2006, NAABT.org's free and anonymous online matching system has connected nearly 14,000 addicted patients with physicians certified to prescribe Suboxone for opioid addiction.
Less than 2% of US physicians are allowed by law to prescribe this treatment, and those that do have a Congress imposed limit on how many patients they can treat (30 or 100 based on how long they have been certified).
Virtually all US physicians can prescribe, without limits, the medication people become addicted to, but once addicted, less than 2% of doctors are legally able to treat them with the most effective FDA approved medications.
Prescription painkiller addiction has reached epidemic status according to many experts. Physicians have effective tools in their arsenal but are restricted in saving lives due to stigma and outdated laws that ration this lifesaving healthcare. Helping patients find a physician able to help them saves lives.
How the system works: Patients who can't find a doctor register anonymously online. Instantly, an email goes out to all participating physicians alerting them to a patient near them in need of help. Doctors review the patient details and respond if they have an opening and meet the patient's needs. Patients then receive an email with the doctor's contact info and a short note, sometimes within minutes of reaching out for help.
Background: An outdated 1914 law, still on the books, prevents doctors from prescribing the most effective FDA approved opioid addiction medications currently available. In 2000 an amendment to this law was passed that allowed doctors to prescribe certain medications specifically FDA approved for the treatment of opioid addiction, if the physician passed a mandatory training, but still limited the physician to only helping 30 patients at any one time. This led to long patient waiting lists and some patients dying while waiting for this lifesaving treatment. In 2006 the patient limit was upped to 100 for doctors who had been certified for more than one year. Still finding a doctor close by and one who accepts their insurance is very difficult for patients looking to end their addictions. The matching system helps these patients.
Anonymous patient -- "I was ready to give up, then I received a doctor email a few hours after registering ... and on a Sunday! It was so much easier to call back a doctor who I already knew wanted to treat me. I had an appointment the next day and life has been better ever since."