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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

New Senate Bill Would Expand Bed Limit of Residential SUD Treatment

March 3, 2016 | Addictions | Medicaid | Comments
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A new bill in the Senate would modify existing Medicaid payment prohibitions and expand the bed limit for residential treatment facilities serving persons with substance use disorders. Known as the “Institutes of Mental Disease (IMD)” exclusion, this payment exclusion prevents Medicaid from providing federal matching funds for services provided in residential substance use settings with more than 16 beds, hindering patients’ access to care. The Medicaid Coverage for Addiction Recovery Expansion (CARE) Act – introduced by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Angus King (I-ME) – would increase the bed limit in these settings from 16 to no more than 40, greatly expanding the number of facilities capable of servicing this population. The Medicaid CARE Act would allow facilities to offer treatment services for up to 60 consecutive days.

“We know that by better treating people suffering from addiction – rather than arresting them or turning them away from help – we can reduce crime, improve health, and save lives. But as the result of a decades-old policy based on an outdated understanding of addiction, far too many low-income and at-risk patients aren’t able to access the treatment they need,” lead bill author Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said.

“For people fighting addiction, an available bed in a treatment facility can mean the difference between life and death. But today, federal rules enacted more than fifty years ago are standing in the way of Maine people receiving the potentially lifesaving treatment they need,” Senator King said. “The legislation we are introducing today will increase that cap and allow otherwise limited treatment facilities across the country to extend a helping hand to more people, and hopefully, save more lives.”

The National Council fully supports this legislation and is working closely with Senator Durbin’s office to see it through to passage.