Vt. Gets Addiction Treatment Funds

Valley News Staff Writer
Friday, June 08, 2018

Montpelier — The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued an approval that allows Vermont to receive federal Medicaid funding for addiction treatment this week.

This approval of an amendment to a broader Medicaid waiver — the Global Commitment to Health Section 1115 Demonstration — allows the state to receive federal funds for services to treat addictions to opioids and other substances, including those provided in residential and inpatient treatment facilities, according to Wednesday’s letter of approval signed by Timothy Hill, the acting director of the Department of Health and Human Services at CMS.

“Addiction and the impact it has on communities and families is felt throughout Vermont,” Vermont Gov. Phil Scott said in a Thursday news release announcing the approval. “I appreciate the hard work of our Agency of Human Services and our federal partners at CMS in providing this important approval to ensure all Vermonters have access to the care they need when they are seeking treatment for addiction.”

The approval shores up at least $8 million the federal government currently spends to support people receiving inpatient addiction treatment in Vermont, according to Al Gobeille, secretary of the Vermont Agency of Human Services.

Without this approval, which is effective July 1 through Dec. 31, 2021, Vermont would have been required to begin phasing down federal Medicaid participation for addiction treatment in a residential setting in 2021 and phase it out completely at the end of 2025.

“Over the next 10 years, (this approval) allows us to build a system that really meets the needs of people,” Gobeille said in a phone interview on Thursday.

The approval does not allow Vermont to receive Medicaid funds for people receiving treatment in these facilities for mental illnesses other than addiction.

“I applaud Vermont on their commitment to expanding access to treatment services for Vermonters receiving Medicaid services,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in the news release.

New Hampshire has filed a request for the same waiver from CMS, said Jake Leon, spokesman for the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. It is under review.