Finding a Free MAT Provider in Tennessee

This is Part 2 in our MAT series. If you’re not already familiar with MAT, go back and read Part 1, “Introduction to Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)”.

  1. The MAT Enrollment Process
  2. Types of MAT Providers
  3. SAMHSA’s Lookup Tools
  4. Tennessee’s Lookup Tools
  5. Tennessee’s SAPT Block Grant Providers (Free!)
  6. Tennessee’s SOR/Hub-and-Spoke Network (Free or almost-free!)

Summary

  • MAT enrollment is long, drawn-out, and takes anywhere from 90 minutes to 3 hours. Most patients get accepted and are allowed to choose which MOUD they want (given their provider offers that particular MOUD).
  • There are two types of MAT providers: Opioid Treatment Programs (a.k.a. methadone clinics; can prescribe all three MOUD) and Office-Based Practitioners (can only prescribe buprenorphine and naltrexone).
  • SAMHSA has two lookup tools: the Opioid Treatment Program Directory (for OTPs), which lists all OTPs in the country; and the Buprenorphine Practitioner Locator (for Office-Based Practitioners), which lists almost all Office-Based Practitioners in the U.S. While these resources are quite extensive, most of these providers aren’t free.
  • The State of Tennessee has two lookup tools: a map of all Opioid Treatment Programs (methadone clinics) and a directory of all Office-Based Practitioners (Suboxone® clinics). While these resources are comprehensive, most of these providers aren’t free.
  • The State of Tennessee maintains an up-to-date list of all SAPT Block Grant-funded addiction treatment providers. Treatment at these providers is 100% free, if you qualify. 41 of Tennessee’s SABG-funded providers offer MAT — 35 offer buprenorphine, 10 offer methadone, and 27 offer naltrexone.
  • Tennessee has a hub-and-spoke network of MAT providers. The hub-and-spoke model is a new model for delivering addiction treatment services that was first used in Vermont in 2013. If you qualify, treatment is 100% free for buprenorphine and naltrexone and $20/week for methadone. There are currently 37 hub-and-spoke providers in Tennessee.

The MAT Enrollment Process

Find provider. Call provider, set up appointment. Go to appointment. Pay provider. Fill out paperwork. Go through intake, which includes:

  • Physical exam
  • Personal and family health history
  • Personal and family drug use history
  • Determination of current opioid dependence and length of addiction
  • Drug screen
  • TB (tuberculosis) skin test
  • Blood draw to check for blood-borne diseases

Sign a bunch of documents. Talk to counselor. Talk to doctor. Doctor decides whether you need medication-assisted therapy. If accepted, you’ll be dosed on-location or given a prescription. You will almost certainly be accepted.


Types of MAT Providers

Federal regulations allow for two types of medication-assisted treatment programs: Opioid Treatment Programs and Office-Based Practitioners.

Opioid Treatment Programs (OTP) (a.k.a. methadone clinics) are highly regulated medical facilities that use medication-assisted treatment to treat opioid use disorder. The defining characteristic of an OTP is that it dispenses methadone (though it may also prescribe buprenorphine and naltrexone).

Office-Based Practitioners (a.ka. Suboxone® clinics) are individuals — typically physicians, though also advanced practice nurses and physician assistants — who prescribe buprenorphine or naltrexone to treat opioid use disorder.


SAMHSA’s Lookup Tools

SAMHSA’s Opioid Treatment Program Directory

This tool generates lists of OTPs in all 50 states, five U.S. territories, and the Federated States of Micronesia (for our purposes, it’s pretty much a territory). Simply select your state from the dropdown menu and it’ll generate a list of in-state OTPs — it’s that simple.

The results for each state or territory are populated in a list like this:

Program NameStreetCityStateZip CodePhoneCertificationFirst Full Certification DateMap
CRC Health of Tennessee999 Girl Scout RdBurnsTN37029(615) 446-7034Certified04/26/2017Map
Volunteer Treatment Center, LLC2347 Rossville Blvd.ChattanoogaTN37408(423) 265-3122Certified01/19/2006Map
Real example of results from SAMHSA’s OTP Directory

SAMHSA’s Buprenorphine Practitioner Locator

This tool lists most office-based medication-assisted treatment programs throughout the U.S., listing them by state, city, or zip code — your choice.*

Results for each practitioner includes the following information:

First NameLast NameSub TypeAddressCityStateZip CodeTelephone
JenniferJunghenNPN2950 State Road 67Lake GenevaWI53147262-245-0535
MatthewBeesonMD/DO1100 Bergslien StreetBaldwinWI54002715-684-1111
Real example of results from SAMHSA’s Buprenorphine Practitioner Locator

* Some practitioners don’t consent to releasing their practice information to the public; so, while this might not be a complete list, it’s still the most comprehensive directory of office-based MAT practitioners known to man.

How Much Does It Cost? — SAMHSA’s Lookup Tools

Unlike the other two categories listed below — SAPT Block Grant (SABG) and SOR/hub-and-spoke providers — the providers listed on these two lookup tools might not offer any kind of financial assistance. In my experience, monthly cash-pay MAT costs can range up to $875/month.

Many of the medication-assisted therapy providers you’ll find take insurance. However, many of us don’t have insurance. If you’re interested in finding grant-funded (a.k.a. FREE!) MAT providers, look below!


Tennessee’s Lookup Tools

The State of Tennessee offers a few lookup tools to help people find MAT programs.

Here is a map of the 22 Opioid Treatment Programs — better known as methadone clinics — in Tennessee.

Here is a directory of all providers with a Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services license. To get the list of every office-based practitioner — better known as Suboxone® clinics — in the state, select “Alcohol and Drug Non-Residential Office-Based Opiate Treatment Facilities”.

Unlike the information in Chapter 5 and Chapter 6, the providers you find with Tennessee’s lookup tools — the map and the directory mentioned above — aren’t guaranteed to offer free service. In fact, most of them don’t offer free service. If you’re looking for free service, skip directly to Chapter 5 and Chapter 6.


Tennessee’s SAPT Block Grant Providers

Started in 1992, the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SABG) is one of the largest sources of funding for — you guessed it — services that prevent and treat substance use disorder.

Currently, 41 addiction treatment providers across the Volunteer State receive SABG funding to cover MAT costs. Find the full list for yourself here.

We calculated the prevalence of each type of MOUD among Tennessee’s SABG-funded MAT providers:

RegionB onlyM onlyN onlyB+MB+NM+NB+M+NTOTAL
West00035008
Middle2012100015
East214470018
TOTAL4159220041
B = Buprenorphine, M = Methadone, N = Naltrexone

Here’s another way to look at it — out of Tennessee’s 41 SABG-funded MAT providers:

  • Buprenorphine: 35 of 41
  • Methadone: 10 of 41
  • Naltrexone: 27 of 41

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify, your income must not exceed 133% of the Federal Poverty Guideline. Determined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, here’s how the 2022 Federal Poverty Guidelines break down:

# of Residents in HouseholdPoverty Guideline
1$13,590
2$18,310
3$23,030
4$27,750
5$32,470
6$37,190
7$41,910
8$46,630
For every additional resident, add…$4,720/resident
These 2022 Poverty Guidelines do not include Alaska or Hawaii.

Also, prospective enrollees receive priority for admission if they meet at least one of these conditions:

  • Using drugs via injection (IV)
  • Being pregnant and using drugs
  • Being pregnant and injecting drugs
  • Being in need of detox services

How Much Does It Cost? — SABG Providers

Any treatment offered by SABG providers is free to people who meet the income eligibility requirements above.

Note: SABG and SAPT Block Grant can be used interchangeably. If I were to refer to these providers IRL, I’d probably use the phrase “SAPT Block Grant.”


Tennessee’s SOR/Hub-and-Spoke Network

Hub-and-spoke is a relatively new model of delivering addiction treatment services. Hubs are comprehensive, big-time service providers that offer everything from once-a-month telehealth counseling visits to detox and intensive residential rehab; they also offer consultations and and training to spokes. Spokes do the legwork — these locations actually provide MAT recovery.

Tennessee’s hub-and-spoke network is funded by a federal State Opioid Response grant — that’s where the “SOR” comes from. You can pronounce it like sore or soar, or spell it out letter-by-letter (essohare).

There are four hub-and-spoke networks in Tennessee:

  1. Upper East
  2. East
  3. Middle
  4. West
This map lists 30 of the 41 known hub-and-spoke providers in Tennessee — for a list of 37 of these SOR grantees (a.k.a. hub-and-spoke providers) check out this resource (all hub-and-spoke members have “State Opioid Response (SOR) Grant” beside their names). For a definite list of all spokes in your area, contact your region’s hub.

Each of the four hubs kinda gets to set their own rules about how they handle patients. For example, I was told by my region’s hub that I was only allowed to choose from the two providers (#28 Pathways, #29 BHG Jackson) in my county of residence (Madison) even though this isn’t a system-wide rule.

Eligibility Criteria

I will update this when I get my hands on a full list of the eligibility criteria, but the most important one is that you must be employed or actively seeking employment. All other criteria is pretty cut and dry: just follow your provider’s rules and you’ll be okay.

How Much Does It Cost? — SOR/Hub-and-Spoke, Providers

People who are covered by the SOR (pronounced two ways: “soar,” like an eagle, or spelled out letter-by-letter, like essohare) grant pay different amounts depending on the MOUD they choose:

  • Buprenorphine: free
  • Methadone: $20/week
  • Naltrexone: free

Providers might not tell you about the SOR grant, so make sure to ask your provider if they participate in the SOR program.

Done with this page? Move on to Part 3, MOUD Explained — Buprenorphine, Methadone, and Naltrexone (coming soon!)