March 14, 2016
Area(s) of Interest: Drug Prescribing/Dispensing Public Health
On Friday, March 11, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced $12,593,225 in funding through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to improve and expand the delivery of substance abuse services in California health centers, with a specific focus on treatment of opioid use disorders in underserved populations.
Administered by HRSA, these awards will allow California to increase the number of patients screened for substance use disorders and connect them to treatment; increase the number of patients with access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid use and other substance use disorder treatment; and provide training and educational resources to help health professionals make informed prescribing decisions. HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell has estimated that this nationwide effort should support substance use treatment for approximately 124,000 new patients and help save lives.
“Health centers treat some of the most at-risk patients in the country,” said HRSA Acting Administrator Jim Macrae. “These awards position health centers to be at the forefront of the fight against opioid abuse in underserved communities.”
Research demonstrates that a whole-patient approach to treatment through a combination of medication, counseling and behavioral therapies is most successful in treating opioid use disorders. In 2014, over 1.3 million people received behavioral health services at health centers, a 75 percent increase since 2008. This funding builds upon and leverages previous investments by providing support to health centers to improve and expand the delivery of medication assisted treatment substance abuse services in an integrated primary care/behavioral health model with a specific focus on treatment of opioid use disorders in underserved populations.
“HRSA’s innovative investment in the delivery of medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorders affirms the importance of behavioral health to overall health,” said Kana Enomoto, Acting Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
To view a list of the award winners, click here. For more information on the HHS’ key areas of focus to address the opioids crisis, click here. To find a health center in your area, click here.