Setting Up a Cash-Only Buprenorphine Treatment Program

Cash Only TreatmentSome providers run a cash-only buprenorphine treatment practice in which they set their own fees and costs for treatment. Cash-only-service treatment providers should have a clear policy and cost sheet regarding initial and ongoing expenses for treatment. This should include costs for assessment, induction, and maintenance visits. You should also take into account the various costs of providing services to your patients, which may include:

  • Staff time spent with patients
  • Administrative time (i.e. filling out paperwork, answering phone calls)
  • Capital and operating expenses

To get a better idea of reasonable rates to charge for buprenorphine treatment, you may want to consult with a more experienced provider in your local area. You can contact other buprenorphine providers via the PCSS or NAABT websites or SAMHSA waived physician webboard.

You need to also be aware of billing fraud. If you have a contract with a health insurance company then the contract may prohibit you from accepting cash for covered services, unless specific waiver of covered benefits forms are filled out by the patient prior to the delivery of services. Accepting cash payment without specific authorization by insurer may be considered billing fraud.

Related Resources: 
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This website is designed to support physicians who prescribe buprenorphine by linking them up with a national network of trained physician mentors.
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Physician Clinical Support System (PCSS)
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This chapter of the TIP 45 discusses funding, resources, organization and patient contracts in substance abuse treatment.
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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
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Physician stage in practice: