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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

CMS Encourages Use of Medicaid Health Homes to Address Opioid Dependency

January 22, 2015 | Opioid and Heroin Epidemic | Comments
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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released an issue brief exploring options states can use to address opioid dependency among Medicaid enrollees, including through medication assisted treatment (MAT) and the Medicaid health home state plan amendment option.

The brief features three states – Maryland, Rhode Island, and Vermont – with approved state plan amendments to implement Medicaid health homes focused on opioid dependence. Based on the experiences of these states, CMS noted that “health homes should be considered as an integral model for addressing opioid use disorders in the Medicaid program.”

CMS highlighted commonalities among the three states’ opioid treatment health home models. While each state structured its program differently, all three engaged in statewide implementation, included Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) as designated health home providers; and used some form of bundled payment for health home services.

CMS also outlined several considerations for states that are exploring developing opioid health homes, including:

  • Leveraging opioid treatment program requirements;
  • Promoting collaboration across multiple state agencies;
  • Supporting providers in the process of becoming health homes; and
  • Encouraging information sharing.

With additional states expected to pursue health homes, CMS notes that “additional customization for specific target populations, including individuals with opioid dependence, may be expected” and that the health home programs enumerated in the three states may “offer helpful guideposts” to other states, “including models that target substance use disorder more broadly.”