Physicians practicing in methadone treatment programs: who are they and what do they do?
Objective. This study examines the characteristics and roles of physicians practicing in methadone maintenance treatment programs (MTPs). Methods. Physicians and clinic directors at 172 MTPs in the United States completed surveys. MTPs were selected for study participation based on their locations (large urban, urban, or nonurban area) ownership status (for profit and non-profit), and size (patient capacity of 1-100, 101-300, and 300+). Weighted data were analyzed with descriptive and multivariate methods. Results. Physicians were primarily white males aged 45 or older; 44% had 10 or more years of experience working in methadone treatment. Physicians reported spending 26% of their time completing administrative tasks. Most reported that they determine dosing levels on an individual patient basis. Average maintenance dose was 69 mg/day. Conclusions. Physicians' treatment practices play a major role in overall treatment, treatment retention, and outcomes. Physicians at for profit and large urban MTPs reported spending the most time in direct patient contact