West Virginia gets approval to expand substance abuse treatment coverage

West Virginia gets approval to expand substance abuse treatment coverage
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The Trump administration has approved a request by West Virginia to expand Medicaid coverage for treatment of substance abuse disorders, state officials announced Tuesday.

West Virginia has the highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the country, and officials said the waiver will contribute to a “comprehensive statewide strategy” to combat prescription drug abuse and opioid use disorders.

"West Virginia is facing a public health crisis that needs to be addressed in order to improve the well-being of our residents," the state said in the waiver request.  

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The federal government will pay for more than 80 percent of the cost for the waiver, which allows West Virginia to cover methadone, naloxone, peer recovery support, withdrawal management and short-term residential services to all Medicaid enrollees.

The approval takes effect Jan. 1 and will run through the end of 2022. The state said it aims to use the expanded services to reduce overdose deaths by 2021.

In a statement, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) said the waiver is “critical to protect our Medicaid budget so our state can meet its federal obligation for these vital services.”

“We need to help our people get the care they need to get their lives back on track and stop these senseless overdose deaths,” Justice said.