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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

National Council Hosts Convening of State Medicaid Agencies to Address Opioid Epidemic

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Earlier this week, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing and the National Association of Medicaid Directors hosted a convening of state Medicaid agencies, substance use agencies, and state associations for specialty behavioral health providers to explore the ways in which states can better work together to address the nation’s growing opioid epidemic. The convening was hosted in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Open Society Foundations and the Pew Charitable Trusts.

The two-day event brought together over 90 attendees from 21 states to discuss and explore state-based solutions to curb opioid use and abuse across the country. Participants developed state-specific action plans to implement over the next twelve months. Participants’ plans included: establishment of clinical guidelines for prescribing opioids, engagement of public and private community stakeholders, creation of alternative pain management strategies and behavioral health interventions, and implementation of medication assisted treatment.

Presenters and participants in the convening included: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Pew Charitable Trusts, Washington Medicaid Program, MaineCare, TennCare, Oregon Health Authority, Oklahoma Health Care Authority, American Society of Addiction Medicine, Indiana Medicaid, Missouri HealthNet, and the National Safety Council.

To support the implementation of the state-specific action plans, the National Council will provide six months of technical assistance to the meeting’s participants. Additionally, state participants will be invited to present their promising practices during a National Council and National Association of Medicaid Directors-hosted webinar later this year.