Governor Lamont Announces Connecticut Receives $2.9M Federal Grant to Strengthen Medicaid Treatment of Substance Use Disorders
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that the State of Connecticut is receiving nearly $2.9 million in federal funding to plan for increased capacity of the state’s Medicaid program in delivering substance use disorder treatment and recovery services.
The grant comes to the state under the under the Substance Use Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities (SUPPORT) Act, which is administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), with the purpose of increasing the capacity of Medicaid providers to deliver substance use disorder treatment or recovery services.
“Addiction is an illness that needs to be treated just as any other public health emergency,” Governor Lamont said. “Our administration is working on a number of initiatives to help address this trauma, and one of the key areas is in Medicaid to help ensure that more patients have access to life-saving care. This grant is going to help us build capacity and expand services in this critical field so that we can turn lives around and help put an end to this horrible crisis.”
As the administrating agency for Medicaid in the state, the Department of Social Services (DSS) partners with the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) in delivering behavioral health and substance use-related services to HUSKY Health members.
“This federal grant is especially important because it will help us lay the groundwork for preventive and treatment services that will make an even deeper impact on opiate misuse and harmful effects of other substances,” DSS Commissioner Deidre Gifford, MD, said. “We will be looking at a wide range of factors, including recruitment and training of providers with specialized expertise in serving pregnant women, mothers and infants, youth and young adults, residents of rural areas of our state, and older adults and persons with disabilities who are also eligible for Medicare. We join Governor Lamont and our state partners in thanking CMS for recognizing Connecticut’s ongoing work in the area of substance use disorder.”
“Connecticut has been fortunate to have sister agencies and stakeholders across the state that have been willing to collaborate on a number of initiatives and strategies to address opioid misuse,” DMHAS Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon said. “We look forward to continuing our collaborative efforts in working with DSS and DCF to not only identify gaps in the treatment of substance use disorders and workforce development, but to develop strategies to address these gaps so we can increase access to quality services for the people of our state.”
DCF Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes explained that substance use – and the opioid epidemic in particular – is a major contributing factor that frequently results in children entering state care.
“It is our highest priority to assure children can remain safely at home while their caregivers receive family-centered supports,” Commissioner Dorantes said. “This grant is another example of how we can work together with our partners and our communities to support services that will help families recover from substance use disorders. That will keep more children at home and return more children back home.”
Connecticut will receive the funding over an 18-month period to complete a comprehensive assessment of the substance use disorder (SUD) treatment and recovery needs of the Medicaid population, and develop a plan to meet those needs with the Medicaid SUD treatment and recovery service system. The state agency partners will contract with Beacon Health Options, the administrative services organization for the Medicaid behavioral health system, to assist in assessing the treatment needs of individuals, assess the treatment capacity of the current service system, and develop a plan to address the unmet needs of individuals with SUD.
In addition, DSS will retain Mercer, state-contracted actuary, to engage in assessing the feasibility of alternative payment models based on access and quality of care for the SUD service system. Connecticut’s successful grant application also notes that DSS, DCF, DMHAS, Beacon, and Mercer are prepared to leverage inter-agency collaboration and experience in understanding and responding to the needs of Connecticut residents to successfully implement this grant. There will be significant provider and stakeholder engagement with this grant related to the assessment components, as well as the work associated in the development of a plan to enhance the capacity of service system and the alternative payment models.
Further information about the CMS grant is available here.