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Malka Berro

Policy Associate

National Council Staff Presents at Congressional Briefing on Addiction

November 21, 2019 | Addictions | Comments
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On Wednesday, Tom Hill, Vice President of Practice Improvement at the National Council, spoke at a congressional briefing on federal and state financing for recovery support services. The briefing, which was hosted by Young People in Recovery, highlighted various funding streams for addiction services, including State Opioid Response (SOR) grants, transferrable tax credits, and Section 1115 Demonstration Waivers.

Other featured briefing speakers included Justin Luke Riley, Young People in Recovery, Rob Morrison, National Association of State Alcohol & Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD), Andrew Burki, The Hanley Foundation, and Dr. Deni Carise, Recovery Centers of America.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 20 million Americans aged 12 or older have experienced a substance use disorder, yet nearly 90% of people living with addiction do not receive any form of treatment in a given year. 130 people die every day in the United States from an opioid overdose, and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that almost 400,000 people have died from an opioid overdose over the last 20 years. Addiction support services are proven methods of addressing the addiction crisis and giving people the skills to start their path to recovery.

Mr. Hill covered both state Medicaid financing strategies, as well as SAMHSA and Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) grant funding. According to a MACPAC issue brief from 2019, Medicaid pays for recovery support services through the following methods:

  • State plans (including health homes and rehabilitation options);
  • Home and community-based waivers;
  • Section 1115 demonstrations; and,
  • Certified Community Behavioral Health (CCBHC) demonstrations.

Recovery support services can include peer supports, comprehensive community supports (where individuals can learn skills to independently function in a community), skills training (i.e. employment readiness), supported employment, and supportive housing. The majority of states cover peer services and comprehensive community supports in their state Medicaid programs.

One significant recommendation Mr. Hill made in his remarks was to include permanent line-item budgeting for all future addiction financing, as it is imperative to have long-term solutions that go beyond discretionary funding (as funds become available).