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New Requirements for Behavioral Health and Human Services Organizations Treating Opioid Use Disorder

Consequences associated with opioid use, such as overdose, are a serious health care issue in the United States. In 2022, overdose deaths from any opioid occurred at a rate of 28.7 per 100,000 residents across 30 US jurisdictions. Coupled with the current issues with access to care, the stigma and bias that the general public and some health care professionals have towards individuals with substance use disorder often prevents these individuals from seeking care, even when they recognize that they need it.

Medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) describes a group of medications with strong scientific evidence that shows the medications improve outcomes in treatment of opioid use disorder. These evidence-based medications include methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. Research has demonstrated that the use of any of these three medications increases the duration of the individual’s engagement with treatment and reduces the use of opioids outside of prescribed treatment.

Given the evidence supporting MOUD as the first-line treatment for individuals served diagnosed with opioid use disorder, and The Joint Commission’s vision to improve the quality and safety of health care across all settings, The Joint Commission is adding four new requirements for behavioral health care and human services organizations that treat individuals with opioid use disorder to promote the safe use of MOUD. The new requirements align with evidence-based research regarding the use of medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD). These requirements will be effective August 1, 2024.

The changes require organizations to provide education for MOUD and to offer MOUD to individuals receiving treatment for opioid use disorder. If an organization is unable to prescribe MOUD directly, it will need a process to refer individuals served for treatment. In addition, the new requirements emphasize the organization’s responsibility to ensure that the individual served receives MOUD if they choose that treatment. The revised requirements are posted on the Prepublication Standards page of The Joint Commission website and will publish online in the summer interim E-dition® update to the Comprehensive Accreditation Manual for Behavioral Health and Human Services (CAMBHC).

For more information, please contact the Department of Standards and Survey Methods.

References

  1. “SUDORS dashboard: Fatal overdose data,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Health & Human Services, updated February 26, 2024, https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/fatal/dashboard/index.html.
  2. Abraham, R., Wilkinson, E., Jabbarpour, Y., Petterson, S., & Bazemore, A. “Characteristics of office-based buprenorphine prescribers for Medicare patients.” Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 2020 Jan;33(1): 9–16. https://doi.org/10.3122/jabfm.2020.01.190233

Publication Standards:

Prepublication Standards - Effective August 1, 2024