Obama Will Unveil Steps Tuesday to Improve Access to Drug Treatment

President Obama will announce his administration’s plans to improve access to drug treatment at the 2016 National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit on Tuesday, USA Today reports.

He will describe steps to ensure millions more Americans have the same level of coverage for substance abuse and mental health treatment as they do for other medical conditions –known as parity.

Richard Frank, assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said his agency is finalizing a rule that will ensure Americans enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program are offered substance abuse and mental health services that are comparable with other medical services.

Obama is scheduled to sign off on the creation of an inter-agency task force to implement and enforce parity protections for health coverage people receive through their employers, or through plans purchased under the Affordable Care Act. According to Frank, tens of millions of people will benefit from these efforts.

Other initiatives to increase access to drug treatment include a proposed rule by the Department of Health and Human Services to double the current patient limit of 100 for qualified doctors who prescribed buprenorphine for opioid addiction.

Earlier this month, the Obama Administration announced it plans to spend $94 million to improve and expand delivery of substance abuse services in health centers. The funding will focus on treatment of opioid use disorders in underserved populations.

The funding will be distributed to 271 health centers in 45 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The funding will come from grants under the Affordable Care Act. The money will allow treatment providers to hire about 800 people to work with almost 124,000 new patients.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will also offer new grant programs to increase access to the opioid overdose antidote naloxone and medication-assisted treatment.

    User Picture

    JoAnne Garibay

    March 29, 2016 at 3:25 PM

    You said there will be 271 health centers open. What stated will these be in and also the cities. Thanks

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    Skip Sviokla MD ABAM

    March 29, 2016 at 12:06 PM

    Raising the limit will help.
    Skip Sviokla MD ABAM
    author “From Harvard to Hell…and Back”

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