May 31, 2017

Senator Hassan Cosponsors Bipartisan Bill to Expand Access to Substance Misuse Treatment for Granite Staters

Medicaid CARE Act Would Expand Medicaid Coverage to Pay for Up to 40 Treatment Beds at Larger Residential Treatment Facilities

WASHINGTON – Building on her efforts to combat the heroin, fentanyl, and opioid crisis in New Hampshire by expanding treatment, prevention, and recovery efforts, Senator Maggie Hassan announced that she is cosponsoring the bipartisan Medicaid Coverage for Addiction Recovery Expansion (Medicaid CARE) Act.

The Medicaid CARE Act expands access to substance misuse treatment for Granite Staters and Americans struggling with addiction by modifying the Medicaid Institutions for Mental Disease (IMD) Exclusion – an antiquated policy created in 1965 that limits Medicaid coverage for substance misuse treatment to facilities with fewer than 16 beds. The Medicaid CARE Act would lift this outdated barrier by expanding Medicaid coverage to pay for up to 40 treatment beds at larger substance misuse and behavioral health treatment facilities for up to 60 consecutive days.

“No one who is seeking help for a substance use disorder should be turned away because of a lack of treatment beds,” Senator Hassan said. “This bipartisan bill takes a common-sense step to cut red tape and help ensure that people struggling with a substance use disorder can get the help they need. I will work across the aisle to move this important bill forward, and I will continue standing up against efforts that would gut Medicaid and harm our efforts to combat the heroin, fentanyl, and opioid crisis.”

The bill is also cosponsored by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Rob Portman (R-OH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Angus King (I-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

The Medicaid CARE Act modifies the IMD Exclusion to allow Medicaid coverage for up to 40 beds in appropriately accredited “residential addiction treatment facilities” for up to 60 consecutive days for adults with substance use disorders.  The bill allows individuals receiving addiction treatment in such a facility to maintain Medicaid coverage for other medical services, which are currently ineligible under the IMD Exclusion. 

The legislation also establishes a new $50 million youth inpatient addiction treatment grant program to fund facilities that provide substance use disorder treatment services to underserved, at-risk Medicaid beneficiaries who are younger than age 21, with an emphasis on rural communities.  In addition, the bill would increase flexibility for pregnant and postpartum women who are seeking treatment, and would allow them to access the services they need to help ensure positive birth outcomes. The bill is endorsed by the National Council for Behavioral Health, Treatment Communities for America, Mental Health America, National Association of City and County Health Officials, Commission on Accreditation for Residential Facilities, and Joint Commission.

Senator Hassan has also helped re-introduce the Budgeting for Opioid Addiction Treatment Act (LifeBOAT Act), which would establish a permanent funding stream to provide and expand access to substance misuse treatment.

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