Estimated Clinical Outcomes and Cost-effectiveness Associated with Provision of Addiction Treatment in US Primary Care Clinics

Raagini Jawa, Yjuliana Tin, Samantha Nall, Susan L. Calcaterra, Alexandra Savinkina, Laura R. Marks, Simeon D. Kimmel, Benjamin P. Linas, Joshua A. Barocas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Importance: US primary care practitioners (PCPs) are the largest clinical workforce, but few provide addiction care. Primary care is a practical place to expand addiction services, including buprenorphine and harm reduction kits, yet the clinical outcomes and health care sector costs are unknown. Objective: To estimate the long-term clinical outcomes, costs, and cost-effectiveness of integrated buprenorphine and harm reduction kits in primary care for people who inject opioids. Design, Setting, and Participants: In this modeling study, the Reducing Infections Related to Drug Use Cost-Effectiveness (REDUCE) microsimulation model, which tracks serious injection-related infections, overdose, hospitalization, and death, was used to examine the following treatment strategies: (1) PCP services with external referral to addiction care (status quo), (2) PCP services plus onsite buprenorphine prescribing with referral to offsite harm reduction kits (BUP), and (3) PCP services plus onsite buprenorphine prescribing and harm reduction kits (BUP plus HR). Model inputs were derived from clinical trials and observational cohorts, and costs were discounted annually at 3%. The cost-effectiveness was evaluated over a lifetime from the modified health care sector perspective, and sensitivity analyses were performed to address uncertainty. Model simulation began January 1, 2021, and ran for the entire lifetime of the cohort. Main Outcomes and Measures: Life-years (LYs), hospitalizations, mortality from sequelae (overdose, severe skin and soft tissue infections, and endocarditis), costs, and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs). Results: The simulated cohort included 2.25 million people and reflected the age and gender of US persons who inject opioids. Status quo resulted in 6.56 discounted LYs at a discounted cost of $203500 per person (95% credible interval, $203000-$222000). Each strategy extended discounted life expectancy: BUP by 0.16 years and BUP plus HR by 0.17 years. Compared with status quo, BUP plus HR reduced sequelae-related mortality by 33%. The mean discounted lifetime cost per person of BUP and BUP plus HR were more than that of the status quo strategy. The dominating strategy was BUP plus HR. Compared with status quo, BUP plus HR was cost-effective (ICER, $34400 per LY). During a 5-year time horizon, BUP plus HR cost an individual PCP practice approximately $13000. Conclusions and Relevance: This modeling study of integrated addiction service in primary care found improved clinical outcomes and modestly increased costs. The integration of addiction service into primary care practices should be a health care system priority.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E237888
JournalJAMA Network Open
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2023


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