Funding substance-abuse treatment for Medicaid recipients could help 6,000 people, official says

If the budget proposed by Gov. Steve Beshear is passed, 6,000 Kentuckians on Medicaid could be treated for substance abuse, ultimately saving the tax system hundreds of thousands of dollars.

That was the message Monday during a House budget subcommittee on health and human services hearing. “All of the research shows that this is a smart thing to do,” said Stephen Hall, commissioner of the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities.
Treating a person with intensive drug addiction services costs $2,500. But an adult who is not treated costs taxpayers more than $23,000 in prison and other costs, Hall said.
Kentucky is “one of only seven states that does not offer substance-abuse treatment in its Medicaid program,” reports Beth Musgrave for the Lexington Herald-Leader.
Beshear has proposed an expansion of drug addiction services in his two-year budget, one of few new spending projects. He is requested $11.6 million in the first year of the budget, which would help about 4,500 people. He wants another $14.9 million in the second year of the budget to help about 1,300 people. Kentuckians who are eligible for Medicaid and who have a mental illness and substance-abuse problems will have priority in the program, as will those with substance-abuse issues and custody of a minor child.
Though “many on the House budget committee applauded the move,” Musgrave reports, at a time when state agencies are facing 8.4 percent cuts, the spending project is a hard sell. “It’s difficult to start any new programs,” said Sen. Robert Leeper, an Independent of Paducah and chairman of the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee. (Read more)
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One Reply to “Funding substance-abuse treatment for Medicaid recipients could help 6,000 people, official says”

  1. emily baker

    I am a former addict and I STRONGLY BELIEVE that if we can get medicaid to pay or substance abuse treatment we would see major changes in this state. I have medicaid that pays or my medications (suboxone) however, I pay $400 per month to see my doctor because medicaid will NOT pay for the visit. I have friends who are desperate to get into these clinics but cannot afford to do so. Personally, AI do believe that medicaid should pay these office visit fees and the medication because in southeast KY that is the only treatment available. It doesn't work or everyone but it has had a tremendous positive affect on my community. Also, they can set rules such as random drug screens, medication counts, counseling, etc. or those people truly genuine about getting help these guidelines should not matter.Alo, these clinics are 98% CASH ONLY, they should have to accept our medical cards, no questions asked

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