An outdated Medicaid regulation — intended to discourage “institutions for mental disease” — prohibits the use of federal dollars for addiction treatment provided in facilities with more than 16 beds. Outlets report on the epidemic out of Delaware, Pennsylvania and Ohio, as well.

States Seek Medicaid Dollars For Addiction Treatment Beds

But in the throes of an opioid epidemic that killed more than 33,000 people in 2015 alone, the nation’s supply of residential treatment slots falls far short of the number needed to serve everyone who walks in, gets dropped off by police, or is transferred from a hospital or crisis center. Waitlists persist almost everywhere, primarily because of a growing number of people addicted to heroin and prescription painkillers. To boost the number of beds available for low-income residents, the federal government has granted California, Maryland, Massachusetts and New York a waiver of an obscure Medicaid rule that prohibits the use of federal dollars for addiction treatment provided in facilities with more than 16 beds. (Vestal, 4/5)

The Associated Press:
House Bill Aimed At Substance Abuse Insurance Coverage

House lawmakers have unanimously approved legislation aimed at ensuring that people struggling with drug addiction get the help they need. Supporters of the bill say denial of insurance coverage for substance abuse treatment is a major source of failed treatment efforts by people seeking help, and also a cause of the shortage of adequate treatment facilities in Delaware. (Chase, 4/4)

The Philadelphia Inquirer:
Study: Drug Monitoring Databases Reduce Opioid Prescribing

Requiring doctors to register with state database programs that track patients’ opioid prescriptions reduced the amount of addictive painkillers Medicaid patients receive — and saved money, according to a new study. Simply mandating that physicians register with the state databases led to a nearly 10 percent reduction in prescriptions for the most potent painkillers, the researchers reported in the April issue of Health Affairs, using data collected from 2011 to 2014. (Sapatkin, 4/4)

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