NCMS Foundation Launches Project OBOT

The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of Project OBOT or Office-Based Opioid Treatment. The goal of this new partnership is to establish research-based pilot projects throughout the state to increase patient access to opioid treatment and recovery.

Centene Corporation, the NCMS’ partner in Carolina Complete Health, a health plan developed to deliver Medicaid managed care services in North Carolina, provided a portion of the start-up funding for OBOT.

“With opioid addiction and overdose deaths ravaging our state and country, the NCMS Foundation brought together a coalition of organizations to help stem the human toll this epidemic is exacting,” said Franklin Walker, MBA, NCMS Vice President for Rural Health Systems Innovations and Executive Director of the Community Practitioner Program. “The overarching idea is simple — give our physician and physician assistant members the tools to truly help their patients with opioid use disorder.”

The coalition partners currently include the NC Association of Local Health Directors, LabCorp, The Recovery Platform, the University of North Carolina, School of Public Health, Project Echo and the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC).  Each organization brings special expertise to expanding the use of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) in treating opioid use disorder (OUD).

The statistics are striking:

  • Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them.
  • Between 8 and 12 percent develop an opioid use disorder.
  • An estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin.

Yet, few physicians or PAs are knowledgeable about or trained to provide MAT – in North Carolina less than 3 percent have obtained the necessary certification. Research shows that MAT is successful in treating OUD in about 60 percent of cases whereas abstinence strategies are successful only about 10 percent of the time.

In addition to offering the necessary training to become certified to provide MAT, the OBOT pilot projects also will offer the technology necessary to coordinate care, track non-compliance, address other determinants of health outcomes and incorporate telemedicine. The teams of experts will help primary care physicians integrate MAT into their regular workflow in hopes that caring for patients with OUD will become routine and will lead to successful treatment of this chronic condition.

MAT certification trainings are already underway. Watch the Bulletin and the OBOT website for updates and to learn more about the initiative. For more information about getting involved in OBOT, please contact Walker at or 919-833-3836 x141.


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1 Comment

  • Lindsey de Guehery

    The excess deaths from opioids come from illicit Suboxone and fentanyl. See spring issue of AAPS Journal for excellent article. This is not a physician prescribing issue.