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Support Services for Rural MOUD Programs

Many rural programs providing medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) offer a variety of services, in addition to medication, that support treatment for opioid use disorder. These support services help patients by connecting them with resources, including those that address the social determinants of health. Examples of support services offered by rural MOUD programs include housing, transportation, employment assistance, and child care.

Housing

Some residents of rural communities may be experiencing homelessness. It is important for MOUD programs to understand how to best help this patient population. For example, programs may need to help patients in treatment establish stable housing, and they may need to partner with other organizations, such as homeless services providers, to expand access to shelter or housing for patients while in treatment.

For additional information about rural homelessness, see the page about People Experiencing Homelessness in the Rural Services Integration Toolkit.

Transportation

In many rural communities, transportation is a barrier to accessing MOUD programs. Some innovative strategies rural programs have developed to address this barrier include:

  • Co-locate services to reduce transportation needs
  • Locate MOUD programs in areas that are accessible via public transportation
  • Establish public transportation routes that reach rural residents
  • Provide financial support for transportation costs
  • Collaborate with community partners
  • Open new access points closer to patients
  • Provide telehealth services
  • Mobile clinics

For additional information about transportation specific to rural substance use disorder programs, see Transportation in the Rural Prevention and Treatment of Substance Use Disorders Toolkit. For broader information, see the Rural Transportation Toolkit.

Employment Assistance

Having a stable job may help patients who have opioid use disorder (OUD) achieve a sustainable recovery. A rural MOUD program can consider developing a list of local job openings or partner with organizations to place program participants in local employment opportunities.

Family-Centered Care

MOUD programs should consider offering services and resources that support patients with families. Implementing a family-centered approach to treatment includes providing services like child care.

For patients who have children, it can be difficult and expensive to find child care coverage during appointments for treatment services. Programs can include child care services as part of their program to reduce this barrier to care. This additional service allows parents to bring their child to their in-person appointment without having their child in the room while they are discussing treatment with a provider or attending a counseling session.