Medicaid Waiver Aims to Improve Access to Treatment for Substance Use Disorders

Jan 16, 2018

West Virginia Medicaid recipients now have access to new services aimed at screening and treating substance use disorders. 

West Virginia Medicaid was awarded a waiver from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in October last year, authorizing the state to expand substance use disorder treatment coverage.

West Virginia began a program this week to identify the substance use disorder treatment needs among the Medicaid population. Under the waiver, Medicaid will also begin covering the use of methadone (an opioid withdrawal management medication) for medication assisted treatment and is working on designing a statewide initiative to make the opioid overdose drug naloxone more widely available.

The state also has committed to assessing the quality of care provided by current short-term residential treatment facilities.

West Virginia has the highest rate of opioid overdoses in the nation. The waiver has been granted for five years. 

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Marshall Health, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.