Addiction, Health Alerts

How is COVID-19 Redefining Care Delivery for the SUD Population? Part 2

Content provided by Jill S. Warrington, MD, PhD. Blog edited by Alexa De Vivo.

This is part two of a two part blog series on “Care for Substance Use Disorder Populations during COVID-19”. The first portion of this blog covered Digital Health Transformation and Alternative Delivery Models, click here to read part one.

Regulatory requirements and payor reimbursement practices have loosened during COVID-19. As evidenced by the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES), some of these changes are likely to be permanent and very impactful for the SUD population (7).

In terms of Population Health Adoption, we see a reinvigorated use of data for public health applications. We have data driving predictive models for hospital capacity (8), disease spread (9) and viral genome mapping to track spread and to identify targets for vaccine and drug development (10).

These points lead us to a recognition of unmet social and behavioral health needs.

With COVID-19, we have seen health disparities by race, socioeconomic status and in access to care. Studies have demonstrated that infection and death rates for COVID-19 have been substantially higher in the African American community (11). With social distancing, there is significant concern about the frequency of depression, anxiety, substance use and domestic abuse (12).


(7), [last accessed, 5/6/2020].

(8) Kent, J. 4-6-2020. Tool helps hospitals plan for critical care surges during COVID-19. Health IT Analytics.

(9), [last accessed, 5/6/2020].

(10), [last accessed, 5/6/2020].

(11) Yancy CW. COVID-19 and African Americans. JAMA. Published online April 15, 2020.

(12), [last accessed, 5/6/2020].

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