The Biden administration is calling on states to use Medicaid funds to cover opioid addiction treatment in correctional facilities, The New York Times reports.
States can now ask the federal government to permit Medicaid to cover addiction treatment for up to 90 days ahead of someone’s release, under new guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In participating states, the federal government is calling for correctional facilities to offer buprenorphine and methadone. The facilities will also be expected to provide incarcerated people with a 30-day supply of treatment when they are released.
According to public health experts, providing treatment during this period could help people better survive the difficult conditions in correctional facilities, and then transition more smoothly back into the community.
Incarcerated individuals disproportionately have opioid use disorder, and often cannot find treatment during and after their incarceration, the article notes.
Under federal law, incarcerated Americans are prohibited from receiving coverage through Medicaid unless they are in an inpatient setting such as a hospital. This means that states, counties and cities generally pay for opioid addiction treatment that helps people with substance use disorder manage or prevent cravings and withdrawal symptoms that occur when they are incarcerated.