Bipartisan collaboration between Governor and Senate leader allocates nearly $5million to opioid crisis
AUGUSTA, Maine - On Thursday the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Commissioner Mary Mayhew presented a plan to allocate nearly $5 million to opioid addiction treatment. The plan, presented to a joint work session of the Legislature's Appropriations and Financial Affairs (AFA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) Committees, would create an Opioid Health Home model for substance use disorder treatment focused on expanding primary care access to addiction treatment services.
This would be an amendment to the Governor's supplemental budget proposal which would appropriate $2 million in state funds for treatment for uninsured Mainers and another $2.8 million in state and federal dollars for MaineCare-eligible Mainers. Commissioner Mayhew advocated for an expansion of the Health Homes model to specifically include opioid addiction treatment as the destination for those funds.
"I am very pleased with this bipartisan agreement to appropriate funding for the creation of Opioid Health Homes, which is in keeping with Governor LePage's priority to support integrated and coordinated treatment for those suffering from opioid addiction," said Commissioner Mary Mayhew. "We want to target these resources to improve the length of time individuals remain committed to treatment and to achieve improved outcomes focused on sustained sobriety and recovery."
This innovative model of substance abuse treatment, places patients with a primary care provider, or "home," who directs the patient's care through multiple providers. This approach treats the 'whole person' through counseling, care coordination, medication-assisted treatment, peer support and medical care.
The amendment requires four quarterly reports from DHHS to the Legislature disclosing the amount spent and total members served under this initiative. Earlier this year, the Department announced an additional $2.4 million internally allocated for opioid addiction treatment for the uninsured. This amendment along with the previous expansion of treatment services brings the total increase in opioid addiction treatment spending to $7.2 million so far this year.
"This is just one important step of many that state government has taken and must take to fight the opioid crisis on all fronts: treatment, prevention and law enforcement," said Commissioner Mayhew. "Maine families are suffering from this crisis and it is imperative that we work together to support effective models of care to treat addiction and to support individuals on the road to recovery."
Upon anticipated passage of the supplemental budget, DHHS will promulgate rulemaking to govern the program and engage with health care providers to implement Opioid Health Homes.