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Evaluation of a Buprenorphine Boot Camp Training

Medications for opioid use disorder, like buprenorphine, are an important tool for treating opioid addiction. Buprenorphine can be prescribed in primary care settings and has the potential to greatly expand the availability of this life-saving treatment. However, only a small percentage of primary care providers in Minnesota have the necessary training and administrative supports to offer buprenorphine in their clinics. 

Minnesota’s state government is investing in multiple efforts to expand capacity for treating opioid use disorder, including a program called Buprenorphine Boot Camp, a 1.5-day in-person training for healthcare providers to learn how to set up a successful buprenorphine program. Boot Camp was developed in response to interest from the provider community and designed for care teams (prescribers, nurses, and clinic administrators) to develop the full range of supports needed to operate a buprenorphine program.  

The goals of Boot Camp were to increase a) the number of prescribers with the required federal waiver to prescribe buprenorphine, and b) the number of patients receiving buprenorphine for opioid use disorder. The purpose of this study was to learn whether these goals were met, compared to what would have happened in the absence of Boot Camp, referred to business-as-usual.

This study used Medicaid claims data to compare, over the course of 18 months, providers who attended Boot Camp (N = 125) and like providers who did not attend Boot Camp (N = 250). The results show that attending Boot Camp led to statistically and practically significant increases in waivers and buprenorphine prescribing. We find: 

  • Attending Boot Camp resulted in a 37%-point increase in waivers over 15 months compared to providers who did not attend.
  • Eighteen months after Boot Camp, attendees increased their buprenorphine prescribing to patients with a history of opioid use disorder by 6.8% points.
  • In an exploratory analysis, both Boot Camp and ECHO (a separate “hub-and-spoke” program that offers weekly virtual sessions on opioid-related topics) had separate effects on waivers and buprenorphine prescribing, suggesting that both are beneficial, and the two programs complement each other.

The positive impacts on waivers and buprenorphine provide strong evidence that a brief, focused training like Boot Camp is an effective way to train primary care providers in prescribing buprenorphine in the community. This kind of training program, implemented within a robust continuum of care, could be expanded to further curb the harmful effects of the opioid epidemic.

Legislative Report

Project Registration Date:  

October 27, 2021

Project Status:  


Project Lead:  

Dr. Anna Solmeyer

Evaluation Priority Area:

Opioid Epidemic Response

Project Pre-Registration

Project OSF Page

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