Residencies must train residents to treat substance use disorder among pregnant women

March 09, 2020

Early-career family physicians who both provide maternity care and prescribe buprenorphine--a medication used to treat opioid use disorder--primarily completed their training in a small number of residency programs. Using data from the 2016, 2017 and 2018 National Family Medicine Graduate Survey, administered annually by the American Board of Family Medicine, the research team behind this study asked clinicians who graduated from family medicine residency programs within the past three years whether "maternity care" or "buprenorphine treatment" were part of their practice and whether they were currently delivering babies. Of the 5,103 respondents in their sample, 153 both deliver babies and prescribe buprenorphine. A further 108 respondents provide maternity care and prescribe buprenorphine but do not perform deliveries. The researchers note that it is not clear whether the surveyed physicians are necessarily providing pregnancy care and prescribing buprenorphine to the same patients.

Of 614 total family medicine residencies represented in the survey, only 15 of them, mostly in urban areas on the East and West Coasts, trained 25% of the respondents who provide this care. As data about the risks of maternal mortality from substance use disorder emerges, it will be important to increase training opportunities in family medicine residencies to meet the needs of pregnant women with substance use disorder.
Maternity Care and Buprenorphine Prescribing in New Family Physicians
Josh St. Louis, MD, MPH, et al
Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, Lawrence, Massachusetts

Post-embargo published article link (goes live March 9, 2020, 5pm Eastern)

American Academy of Family Physicians

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