Suboxone Clinic: New Fee Schedule effective January 1, 2020.
Notice of fee increase: $3 per visit from January 2021
I have been a Suboxone provider at Murfreesboro since 2010. During this time there has been an increase in various licensure and registration fees. In addition, state of Tennessee and DEA have mandated that all prescriptions/controlled substances prescriptions be submitted electronically. This requires me to register with third parties that provide this service … and they charge a fee for it.
I have not increased my fee for the last ten years, and my practice continues to be one of the most affordable Office Based Suboxone Therapy program in the state of Tennessee. Beginning January 2021, patients will see an increase in visit fee by $3 per visit.
If you find this increase in fee unacceptable to you then you should look for a more affordable Suboxone program. You can ask your PCP, counselor, pharmacist, friends and family … about other providers and their service fees. You can also locate other providers from https://findtreatment.gov
In my program the total cost of treatment is less than what people spend on drugs.
If you can afford drugs … you can afford treatment.
|Initial enrollment (transfer)||$278|
|Follow-up visits (12mg/day)||$148|
|Follow-up visit (8mg/day)||$98|
|Follow-up visit, 4mg/day or less||$98, Follow up as needed|
|Urine drug screen||Random, Included in fee|
|Repeat/Urine drug screen||$25|
|Preauthorization for prescriptions etc.||NA. Service not provided|
Enrollment via telemedicine: Procedure
- Phone interview: 5 to 10 minutes. To confirm that you are a resident of Tennessee, currently reside in Murfreesboro or nearby area, and meet the criteria of acceptance in my program.
- Confirm that you have the necessary equipment to complete the process via telemedicine. Have a camera enabled phone, laptop, computer for a zoom meeting.
- Have a reliable internet connection and have at least one hour of uninterrupted time for the meeting.
- Provide email address for transmission of further instructions, consent forms, medical history forms, and link for payment.
- Print out the forms, complete them and fax/scan and send back via email, or as image/pdf via phone.
- Pay the invoice online through the web using a credit/debit card.
- Prescription will be faxed to a pharmacy of your choice in your hometown listed on your ID or current address, or to a nearby city.
- For home induction you will need another adult available to be present during the entire process of induction (about one hour). That person should be capable of following instructions and be capable to get help to get you to the emergency room if the need arises (has not happened in the last ten years … but just in case).
- Be available by phone for follow up questions.
If you do not meet the above criteria then please look for another provider through internet search, https://findtreatment.gov.
Parts of the instructions below are currently not applicable as patients are not being seen in the clinic. The procedure will be resumed once the Covid-19 health emergency is over.
Initial enrollment + Induction
This is required for patients who have never been prescribed Suboxone, and for those who are transitioning from Methadone.
It is also available as an option for patients who request it. For example patients who are coming off high dose opioids, or those who have been using long acting or delayed release opioids like Oxycontin, MS-Contin, Opana-ER, Fentanyl dermal patch, etc.
These patients find it difficult to go through the 24 to 72 hrs of opioid free interval required to reduce the amounts of opioids in their body, so as to reduce the risk of precipitated withdrawal when initiating treatment with Suboxone.
This is normally a two day process.
On the first day you present to the clinic for enrollment and medical examination. The process involves reading and completing consents and providing medical and substance use history followed by a medical examination and discussion.
You do not have to be in withdrawal for this step, … but you should not be under the influence either. This takes one and half to two hours. You are given a prescription for Benzodiazepine and Clonidine for one to three days with instructions to abstain from any further use of opioids.
Benzodiazepines and Clonidine will attenuate the withdrawal symptoms that you will experience once you stop using opioids. Benzodiazepine reduces anxiety and provides sedation to help you sleep in spite of withdrawal. Withdrawal is also likely to increase your heart rate and blood pressure, and that is what Clonidine is for. Not everyone requiress Clonidine, but it is there if you need it.
On the second day you will be checked for withdrawal symptoms and given a prescription for Buprenorphine for in-office induction. You will take it to the nearest pharmacy and bring back the medication. You will take the first dose in the clinic, and will be observed for 20 to 30 minutes. If you have abstained from opioids then you will start feeling better within 10 to 20 minutes and will feel almost normal in an hour.
Patients are then provided a prescription for 30 days and a follow up appointment is made in three weeks.
Initial enrollment (Transfer or Initiating treatment after relapse)
This is a one day process. Patients who have been prescribed Suboxone or other Buprenorphine preparation before are not offered induction unless requested. The enrollment and medical examination is completed the same day. It takes about one to two hours.
This requires reading and completing consents, providing a medical and substance use history followed by a medical exam and discussion. Patients are then provided a prescription for 30 days and a follow up appointment is made in three weeks.
Unless you have relapsed and are taking Methadone, high doses of opioids, or long acting opioids you can do without the induction process.
If you are restarting treatment after a relapse then you are required to be in withdrawal to receive a prescription.
If you are transferring from another practice and are already on Suboxone then you do not have to be in withdrawal.
My practice does not have a licensed counselor. Patients are free to enroll with a licensed counselor of their choice.
Patients are provided a written taper plan to work through and are advised alternate dosing methods if they are unsuccessful. There are links under self-help resources to sites from where patients can download free workbooks.
Patients are seen once a month. Patients who have tapered their dose to 4mg/day or less, are allowed to follow up as needed.
Current medication dosage protocol.
Patients who have never been on Suboxone are started at 16mg/day for the first month, then 12mg/day for three to twelve months. Most patients are able to taper their dose to 8mg/day within three to six months.
Patients who have been prescribed Suboxone in the past are started at 12mg/day, or the dose that they were on before transfer to this program.
Maintenance dose in my clinic is 8mg/day or less. Patients receive the medication support for as long as they need it. Many patients are on this medication for years. It is not ideal … but it is preferable to having a relapse and the downward spiral that results from it. Patients who do not demonstrate satisfactory progress, have frequent relapse, etc., … are advised to enroll with an addiction specialist for ongoing treatment.
As you make progress and taper your dose … the total cost of your treatment decreases.
These tests are to be done through your Primary Care Provider. These are routine and inexpensive tests that are usually covered by your insurance. If your PCP and insurance provide it then it is better to do a “wellness panel”
On initiation, and once a year if indicated:
- A comprehensive metabolic profile (CMP) is required once a year. It includes basic liver and renal function tests, and is done on a blood sample.
- Other suggested tests are complete blood count (CBC) and Electrocardiogram (EKG).
These were most likely done by your PCP on enrollment … please bring a copy of the report. It is recommended to be done again a few months after initiating Suboxone therapy to check for any elevation of liver enzymes. In my practice I have not seen any elevation of liver enzymes.
Male patients should also get their Testosterone level checked, and if low, should seek replacement therapy through their PCP. Long term use of opioids interferes with Testosterone production and results in lower blood levels. Replacement therapy is available to raise your testosterone level to normal range.
Payment at the time of service is accepted as cash or money order. I do not yet have the facility to process debit/credit cards or electronic checks.
My self-pay programs are only for patients who are uninsured, or have commercial insurance but do not need to file claims. Patients who have government funded insurance can not be accepted as self-pay patients.
Fees are payable at the time of service. Fees cover the medical evaluation and management by the provider, and do not cover medications, or lab tests.
I no longer participate in any insurance program, private or government funded. If you do have insurance, then it is better to receive services through your network provider. Your insurance carrier should be able to assist you in locating a provider.
Your prescriptions may be covered by your insurance or your prescription plan. You have to check with them as to the conditions for coverage. Typically there is a limitation to the dose and duration for which it is covered. The program may require that you attend counseling regularly to be eligible for the prescriptions. Some programs will not cover the prescription if it was prescribed by an out of network provider.
I will do the needful if you bring a completed pre-authorization form. I am not willing to call your insurance/prescription plan.
Fees do not strictly follow the standard CPT codes that are followed by insurance carriers.
My fee schedule is designed for self-pay patients who need to have a predictable fee, so that they can plan for it. There is no separate charge for urine drug screen. The urine drug screen is done at random and the cost is averaged out.
For patients who are filing their own claim, the bill will reflect the actual procedures for that day.
If you have insurance coverage:
Insurance benefits depend on your insurance policy. Your doctor has not read your policy, … and is not willing to read it. Your benefits keep changing at the whim of your insurance carrier, and there are unwritten and undisclosed limits to your benefits. Your doctor has no idea as to what benefits you have used up, and what is still left there.
Your insurance carrier offers several plans, each with a different policy. Your doctor has no way of knowing which policy covers what, and what is the rate of reimbursement. I do not have the resources or time to deal with your insurance carrier. It is your insurance … you deal with it.
I will not be able to assist you in filing your claims, other than providing you a receipt for payment received and details of service provided.
Cost of Suboxone … it varies from $5 to $10 for each 8mg tablet/film so please ask around, some pharmacies may honor discount cards. Most pharmacies allow you to obtain a partial fill of your prescription. For example you may obtain three to seven days supply at a time, thus reduce your upfront treatment cost.
Zubsolv and Bunavail are similar medications, and for equivalent dose … they cost the same as Suboxone.
You can compare costs at area pharmacies from the website:
All manufacturers provide discount coupon through their websites:
Most pharmacy chains also offer their own membership programs that provide substantial savings on these medication. Please ask your pharmacist.
I do not dispense any medication.
You receive a prescription for 30 days that you can take to any pharmacy of your choice and have the medications dispensed to you. You do not have to buy the entire prescription at one time. You can pay for and get a part of the prescription. Please ask your pharmacy about it.
Get help … treat your addiction … Suboxone is very effective in preventing withdrawal symptoms.
Even though treatment is expensive … it is cheaper than buying illicit drugs … and you will be on your way to recovery.
This page was last modified on: January 1, 2021