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1.
BMC Med Educ ; 22(1): 575, 2022 Jul 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1962815

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: To respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration-funded Technology Transfer Centers had to rapidly adapt to ensure that the behavioral health workforce had continuous access to remote training and technical assistance (TTA). Although the Technology Transfer Centers have historically relied partially upon virtual methods for delivering TTA, the shift to a strictly virtual approach necessitated by COVID-19 restrictions has raised new questions for how to best proceed with services when social distancing guidelines are relaxed. The objective of this exploratory paper was to compare TTA provision in the six-month period prior to (9/1/19 thru 2/28/20) and during (4/1/20 thru 9/30/20) early COVID-19 restrictions to determine the extent to which the shift to virtual service provision impacted the behavioral health and medical workforce. Specifically, we examined participants' access to TTA, geographic reach of TTA, and workforce perceptions of satisfaction and utility with TTA provision. METHOD: Participant and event-level data were analyzed to compare the following metrics before and during the COVID pandemic: number of events and attendees; participant demographics; zip codes reached; coverage of rural, suburban, and urban areas; and perceptions of satisfaction with and utility of training. RESULTS: Findings showed a 40% increase in the number of events delivered (p < .001) and a 270% increase in the number of attendees (p < .001) during the COVID period when TTCs relied exclusively on virtual delivery. Geospatial analyses linking zip codes to a schematic of rural, suburban, and urban classifications throughout the United States revealed significant increases in the number of zip codes reached during the COVID time period. Satisfaction levels were comparable before and during the pandemic. CONCLUSIONS: Findings show that expanded access to TTA services via virtual formats resulted in reach to more diverse attendees and regions, and did not come at the expense of satisfaction. Results suggest that virtual TTA should continue to be an important component of TTA offerings post-pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Health Workforce , COVID-19/epidemiology , Health Personnel/education , Humans , Pandemics , United States , Workforce
2.
BMC Health Serv Res ; 22(1): 775, 2022 Jun 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1951225

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare providers were forced to shift many services quickly from in-person to virtual, including substance use disorder (SUD) and mental health (MH) treatment services. This led to a sharp increase in telehealth services, with health systems seeing patients virtually at hundreds of times the rate as before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. By analyzing qualitative data about SUD and MH care organizations' experiences using telehealth, this study aims to elucidate emergent themes related to telehealth use by the front-line behavioral health workforce. METHODS: This study uses qualitative data from large-scale web surveys distributed to SUD and MH organizations between May and August 2020. At the end of these surveys, the following question was posed in free-response form: "Is there anything else you would like to say about use of telehealth during or after the COVID-19 pandemic?" Respondents were asked to answer on behalf of their organizations. The 391 responses to this question were analyzed for emergent themes using a conventional approach to content analysis. RESULTS: Three major themes emerged: COVID-specific experiences with telehealth, general experiences with telehealth, and recommendations to continue telehealth delivery. Convenience, access to new populations, and lack of commute were frequently cited advantages of telehealth, while perceived ineffectiveness of and limited access to technology were frequently cited disadvantages. Also commonly mentioned was the relaxation of reimbursement regulations. Respondents supported continuation of relaxed regulations, increased institutional support, and using a combination of telehealth and in-person care in their practices. CONCLUSIONS: This study advanced our knowledge of how the behavioral health workforce experiences telehealth delivery. Further longitudinal research comparing treatment outcomes of those receiving in-person and virtual services will be necessary to undergird organizations' financial support, and perhaps also legislative support, for virtual SUD and MH services.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Mental Health Services , Substance-Related Disorders , Telemedicine , COVID-19/epidemiology , Health Workforce , Humans , Pandemics , Substance-Related Disorders/therapy
3.
J Behav Health Serv Res ; 49(3): 262-281, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1872666

ABSTRACT

This study aims to describe which substance use service (SUS) organizations and who within these organizations support the maintenance of policies targeted at improving substance use treatment services. An online survey assessing respondent, organizational and program demographics, and knowledge and support regarding policy changes was distributed to all certified SUS and harm reduction programs in NYS. Bivariate and latent class analyses were used to identify patterns and associations to policy choices. Across the 227 respondents, there was a support for maintaining expansion of insurance coverage, virtual behavioral health/counseling and medication initiation/maintenance visits, reductions in prior authorizations, and access to prevention/harm reduction services. Three classes of support for policies were derived: (1) high-supporters (n = 49; 21%), (2) low-supporters (n = 66; 29%), and (3) selective-supporters. Having knowledge of policy changes was associated with membership in the high-supporters class. Implications regarding the role of knowledge in behavioral health policies dissemination structures, decision-making, and long-term expansion of SUS are discussed.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Substance-Related Disorders , COVID-19/prevention & control , Health Policy , Humans , Insurance Coverage , New York , Substance-Related Disorders/therapy
5.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-295163

ABSTRACT

Background: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare providers were forced to shift many services quickly from in-person to virtual, including substance use disorder (SUD) and mental health (MH) treatment services. This led to a sharp increase in use of telehealth services, with health systems seeing patients virtually at hundreds of times the rate as before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.By analyzing qualitative data about SUD and MH care providers’ experiences using telehealth, this study aims to elucidate emergent themes related to telehealth use by the front-line behavioral health workforce. Methods: This study uses qualitative data from large-scale web surveys distributed to SUD and MH providers between May and August 2020. At the end of these surveys, the following question was posed in free-response form: “ Is there anything else you would like to say about use of telehealth during or after the COVID-19 pandemic? ” The 391 responses to this question were analyzed for emergent themes using a conventional approach to content analysis. Results: Three major themes emerged in the data: COVID-specific experiences with telehealth, general experiences with telehealth, and recommendations to continue telehealth delivery. Convenience, access to new populations, and lack of commute were frequently cited advantages, while perceived ineffectiveness of and limited access to technology were frequently cited disadvantages. Also commonly mentioned was the relaxation of reimbursement regulations. Providers supported continuation of relaxed regulations, increased institutional support, and using a combination of telehealth and in-person care in their practices. Conclusions: This study advanced our knowledge of how the behavioral health workforce experiences telehealth delivery. Further longitudinal research comparing treatment outcomes of those receiving in-person and virtual services will be necessary to undergird organizations’ financial support, and perhaps also legislative support, of virtual SUD and MH services.

6.
J Subst Abuse Treat ; 133: 108550, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1284257

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, regulations for substance use services changed to accommodate stay-at-home orders and physical distancing guidelines. METHODS: Using in-depth interviews (N = 14) and framework analysis, we describe how policymakers developed, adopted, and implemented regulations governing services for substance use disorders during COVID-19, and how policymakers' perceived the impacts of these regulations in New York State. RESULTS: During the COVID-19 pandemic, policymakers shifted to more inclusive approaches of knowledge generation and co-production of recommendations. Barriers to adoption and implementation of new regulations included medication/services supply, lack of integration, stigma, and overcriminalization. CONCLUSION: Findings from this study highlight the potential feasibility and benefits of co-produced policies for substance use services and the need for consistent service supply, better integration with health care services, reduced stigma, improved funding structures, best practice guidelines, criminal justice reform, and harm reduction support. These considerations should inform future policy maintenance and modifications to substance use services related to COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Substance-Related Disorders , Humans , Pandemics , Policy , Policy Making , SARS-CoV-2
7.
JMIR Ment Health ; 8(2): e25835, 2021 Feb 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1073230

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Social distancing guidelines for COVID-19 have caused a rapid transition to telephone and video technologies for delivering treatment for substance use disorders (SUDs). OBJECTIVE: This study examined the adoption of these technologies across the SUD service continuum, acceptance of these technologies among service providers, and intent of providers to use these technologies after the pandemic. Additional analysis using the validated technology acceptance model (TAM) was performed to test the potential applications of these technologies after the pandemic. The study objectives were as follows: (1) to assess the use of telehealth (telephone and video technologies) for different SUD services during COVID-19 in May-June 2020, (2) to assess the intended applications of telehealth for SUD services beyond COVID-19, (3) to evaluate the perceived ease of use and value of telehealth for delivering SUD services, and (4) to assess organizational readiness for the sustained use of telehealth services. METHODS: An online survey on the use of telephonic and video services was distributed between May and August 2020 to measure the current use of these services, perceived organizational readiness to use these services, and the intent to use these services after COVID-19. In total, 8 of 10 regional Addiction Technology Transfer Centers representing 43 states distributed the survey. Individual organizations were the unit of analysis. RESULTS: In total, 457 organizations responded to the survey. Overall, the technology was widely used; >70% (n>335) of organizations reported using telephone or video platforms for most services. The odds of the intent of organizations to use these technologies to deliver services post COVID-19 were significantly greater for all but two services (ie, telephonic residential counseling and buprenorphine therapy; mean odds ratio 3.79, range 1.87-6.98). Clinical users preferred video technologies to telephone technologies for virtually all services. Readiness to use telephone and video technologies was high across numerous factors, though telephonic services were considered more accessible. Consistent with the TAM, perceived usefulness and ease of use influenced the intent to use both telephone and video technologies. CONCLUSIONS: The overall perceived ease of use and usefulness of telephonic and video services suggest promising post-COVID-19 applications of these services. Survey participants consistently preferred video services to telephonic services; however, the availability of telephonic services to those lacking easy access to video technology is an important characteristic of these services. Future studies should review the acceptance of telehealth services and their comparative impact on SUD care outcomes.

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