While the 1,200 additional addiction medicine specialists are an improvement, many more are needed, Dr. Brennan said, adding that he is optimistic that the new addiction medicine training opportunities provided by ACGME will help achieve higher numbers.
“For addiction medicine, we’ve had fellowships for about 10 years, but the funding for those fellowships was really challenging,” Dr. Brennan said. “Once you get ACGME-accredited, it gives you the ability to partake of [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] funding that funds most of the graduate medical education residency fellowship spots in the United States. ACGME is the gold standard. I think that makes us much more potentially attractive for graduating physicians who are finishing their residencies.”
The certification of new addiction specialists is welcome news, particularly in the midst of the current epidemic, added, senior vice president for education for the American Academy of Family Physicians.
“This is really good news [especially considering], the difficulty that the country is having with so much addiction – of course opioids are in the forefront – but there are so many different types of addiction,” he said in an interview. “This is good news that the certification is available and that physicians are pursuing obtaining additional expertise and recognition in their ability to treat addictions.”