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Rural Health Information Hub

Importance of Sustainability Planning for MOUD Programs

Sustainability planning is something programs should consider early during implementation and potentially during the planning phase, prior to launching the program. A formal sustainability plan can help programs succeed in creating an impactful program and will help program leadership understand how to continue the program after any grant funding has ended.

Developing a sustainability plan during the start of a project can help create a commitment to sustainability. A sustainability plan for a rural program providing medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) should address ongoing strategies for prevention and treatment in the community, as well as strategies for reimbursement and billing. Addressing the sustainability of program activities and financial sustainability of services can ensure continued success of the program.

It is also important for a rural MOUD program to update the sustainability plan, such as in response to challenges or lessons learned. Ongoing process evaluation can provide program staff and leadership with information necessary to support sustainability, including which parts of the program have been successful, where the program needs improvement, and how the program can evolve in the future.

Ongoing coordination with program partners can also support sustainability. Program partners are key to program success, particularly after any grant funding has ended, because they may be able to provide resources and support for specific aspects of a program, provide support services, and help refer patients. Programs should consider having a Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with partners to formalize their partnerships.