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Friday, January 3, 2014

Affordable Care Act Gives Treatment Opportunities

There are many places throughout the United States that lack even the most basic substance abuse treatment center on the outpatient level. States that offer programs may or may not take Medicaid to cover payment for services rendered. In fact, new research by Janet R. Cummings, Ph.D., of Emory University, Atlanta, has shown that approximately 60 percent of U.S. counties have at least one outpatient substance use treatment facility that accepts Medicaid.

Fortunately, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 will close the gap on those who can get coverage. This will give access to treatment for people in states that opt-in, according to the study.

Data was examined from the 2009 National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services and the 2011-2012 Area Resource report. Researchers looked at county-level treatment availability in the U.S., determining if treatment availability had to do with race/ethnicity, poverty, and insurance.

Treatment facilities accepting Medicaid were less common in southern and Midwestern states than the rest of the country. Furthermore, the U.S. counties with a higher percentage of black, rural, and/or uninsured residents were far less likely to have access to treatment.

"Although the Medicaid expansion will provide states with an opportunity to bolster the SUD treatment system with new federal funds, additional policies may need to be implemented to ensure that there is an infrastructure in place to serve new enrollees who seek SUD treatment across local communities," according to the report.

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