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State to add hundreds to special Medicaid program for treating opioid use disorders

Prescription bottle with backlit Oxycodone tablets. Oxycodone is a generic prescription opioid.
Tom - stock.adobe.com
Prescription bottle with backlit Oxycodone tablets. Oxycodone is a generic prescription opioid. A concept of the opioid epidemic crisis

Michigan plans to add hundreds of Medicaid patients this year to a special treatment program for opioid use disorders.

The state health department says the Opioid Health Home program focuses on the whole patient, meaning in addition to treating the patient's diagnosis, it also includes help overcoming barriers to treatment, such as housing, transportation, and mental health issues.

Lindsey Naeyaert with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said the program is still being analyzed for effectiveness, but so far it appears it's a better way to treat patients with opioid use disorder compared to typical methods.

"We know that people are staying in this program longer, and they have a care team, so when they start to fall out of services, that care team reengages them and keeps them in the services longer."

Naeyaert said patients are also assigned a peer coach who has recovered from an opioid use disorder.

The state health department says opioid overdose deaths have increased tenfold since 2000, with more than 2,000 deaths attributed to the drugs in the most recent year of data.

The total cost of the program is roughly $18 million, officials said, with the federal government providing around $15 million of Medicaid match funding, so the total amount for Michigan to run the program is roughly $3 million.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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