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Capitol Hill Briefing Examines How IMD Rule Restricts Addiction Treatment

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Nissa Shaffi

Behavioral Health Policy and Practice Intern

Capitol Hill Briefing Examines How IMD Rule Restricts Addiction Treatment

May 25, 2017 | Addictions | Medicaid | Comments
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Last week, the Treatment Communities of America, in cooperation with the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force and the Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus, held a Congressional staff briefing on the Medicaid Institute of Mental Diseases (IMD) Exclusion, its impact on addiction and recovery services, and necessary steps to address the issue.

IMD Exclusion

The IMD exclusion, established in 1965, prohibits Medicaid from paying for residential treatment for mental health and substance use disorders (SUDs) in facilities of 16 beds or more. As a result of the policy, capacity for residential addiction treatment has been limited. The briefing emphasized the importance of greater resource allocation towards addiction and recovery services, as only 18% of clients who need treatment for SUDs receive it per the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

At the briefing were members of executive leadership from two northeast based therapeutic communities, New York Therapeutic Communities (NYTC) and Integrity House, which is based in New Jersey. Both organizations stressed the importance of garnering bipartisan support in waiving the IMD exclusion. 

Advocacy in Action

The Medicaid Coverage for Addiction Recovery Expansion (CARE) Act was recently introduced to the Senate and aims to alleviate the burden caused by the IMD exclusion. This bill would increase bed limits in residential SUD facilities from 16 to pay for the first 40 beds in any facility, greatly expanding access to services. To read more about the provisions in the Medicaid CARE Act, please click here.

At the briefing, Congressman Donovan encouraged individuals to take advocacy into their own hands by meeting with their representatives, emphasizing that advocates possess great power in influencing political action. To ensure greater support for residential SUD treatment, please click here to engage with and encourage your Senator to cosponsor the bill.

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