Pubdate: Thu, 05 Jan 2017
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Copyright: 2017 The Baltimore Sun Company
Author: Don Mathis, Havre de Grace


Maryland is leading the way on a new model for fighting drug addiction.

Kudos to Gov. Larry Hogan and Dennis Schrader, the governor's
newly-appointed secretary for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene,
for their leadership and vision in negotiating significant improvements
with our state's Medicaid services ("Md. reaches agreement with Medicaid,"
Dec. 28). Especially noteworthy is now allowing Medicaid to reimburse
residential treatment services for people with substance use disorder.

Medicaid has been providing funding for outpatient treatment, albeit well
below the actual cost of those comprehensive services. Prior to the
governor's new agreement with the federal Centers for Medicare and
Medicaid Services, Medicaid could not pay for in-patient treatment and
care. For low-income individuals and families, the $30,000 costs for
29-day residential treatment was almost always beyond their financial

This new Maryland strategy for using Medicaid to reduce and reverse
statewide abuse of heroin and other drugs should serve as a model for the
Trump administration and new Congress. Maryland's approach will help
reduce the suffering of people and families and increase the efficiency of
hospital emergency departments, the courts, law enforcement, and public
and private human services agencies.

Don Mathis, Havre de Grace

The writer serves on the boards of Addiction Connections Resource in
Fallston and Doctors for America.
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