With deaths from opioid overdose rising steeply in recent years, and a large segment of the population reporting knowing someone who has been addicted to prescription painkillers, the nation’s opioid epidemic affects people across all incomes, ages, and regions. These resources provide analysis and insight into the epidemic, who it affects, and how it’s being addressed by federal and state officials and the broader health care system.
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With deaths from opioid overdose rising steeply in recent years, and a large segment of the population reporting knowing someone who has been addicted to prescription painkillers, the nation’s opioid epidemic affects people across all incomes, ages, and regions. These resources provide analysis and insight into the epidemic, who it…

Opioid Use Disorder among Medicaid Enrollees: Snapshot of the Epidemic and State Responses

As the largest payer of substance use disorder services in the United States, Medicaid plays a central role in state efforts to address the opioid epidemic. In addition to increasing access to addiction treatment services through the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), states are expanding Medicaid addiction treatment services, increasing provider reimbursements, restricting opioid prescribing, and implementing delivery system reforms to improve the quality of treatment services. While many states have been tracking progress and challenges in these efforts, uniqueness of state systems can make it difficult to compare or benchmark across states. This brief draws on analyses provided by the Medicaid Outcomes Distributed Research Network (MODRN), a collaborative effort to analyze data across multiple states to facilitate learning among Medicaid agencies. It profiles the opioid epidemic among the Medicaid population in six states participating in MODRN that also have been hard hit by the opioid epidemic: Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. The brief also draws on interviews with officials from the state Medicaid and other health agencies.

State Options for Medicaid Coverage of Inpatient Behavioral Health Services

This report provides data to understand current patterns of Medicaid enrollees’ use of inpatient and outpatient substance use disorder and mental health treatment services; explains the options for states to access federal Medicaid funds for enrollees receiving IMD services; analyzes current Section 1115 waiver activity; and draws on interviews with policymakers using IMD waivers in Vermont, Virginia, and San Diego County to examine successes and challenges

How Connecting Justice-Involved Individuals to Medicaid Can Help Address the Opioid Epidemic

This issue brief identifies key lessons learned from how four states (Missouri, Ohio, New Mexico, Rhode Island) are connecting people leaving the criminal justice system to Medicaid coverage and services, with a focus on medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and supports for people with opioid use disorder. It builds on previous briefs that assessed state efforts to connect people involved in the justice system to Medicaid coverage. It is based on interviews conducted in late 2018 and early 2019 with state Medicaid, behavioral health, and corrections officials in the four states and in Bernalillo County, New Mexico, as well as interviews with managed care organizations, providers, and advocates in those states and published information on the states’ experiences.

The Opioid Epidemic and Medicaid’s Role in Facilitating Access to Treatment

This brief describes nonelderly adults with opioid use disorder, including their demographic characteristics and insurance status, and compares utilization of treatment services among those with Medicaid to those with other types of coverage. It also describes Medicaid financing for opioid treatment and the ways in which Medicaid promotes access to treatment for enrollees with OUD.

Addressing the Opioid Crisis: Medication-Assisted Treatment at Health Care for the Homeless Programs

Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) programs, a subset of community health centers, play a significant role in addressing the opioid epidemic by providing medication-assisted treatment (MAT). MAT, which combines one of three medications (methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone) with behavioral therapies, is the standard of care for opioid use disorder (OUD). This brief presents findings from an analysis of health center data on the provision of buprenorphine-based MAT, as well as interviews with providers and administrators from 12 HCH programs about strategies they adopted to implement MAT programs.

States Focus on Quality and Outcomes Amid Waiver Changes: Results from a 50-State Medicaid Budget Survey for State Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019

This report provides an in-depth examination of the changes taking place in Medicaid programs across the country. Report findings are drawn from the annual budget survey of Medicaid officials in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This report examines the reforms, policy changes, and initiatives that occurred in FY 2018 and those adopted for implementation for FY 2019 (which began for most states on July 1, 2018). Key areas covered include changes in eligibility, managed care and delivery system reforms, long-term services and supports, provider payment rates and taxes, covered benefits, and pharmacy and opioid strategies.

Federal Legislation to Address the Opioid Crisis: Medicaid Provisions in the SUPPORT Act

On October 3, 2018, the Senate overwhelmingly passed comprehensive, bipartisan legislation to address the opioid epidemic, sending the measure to President Trump who has indicated he will sign it. The bill, the Substance Use Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities (SUPPORT) Act, was passed earlier by the House and tackles many aspects of the epidemic, including treatment, prevention, recovery, and enforcement. While very broad in scope, the final legislation contains a number of provisions related to Medicaid’s role in helping states provide coverage and services to people who need substance use disorder (SUD) treatment, particularly those needing opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment.