State Strategies to Support Access to SUD Treatment Services Through the COVID-19 Pandemic

Prepared for the National Governors Association in partnership with the Technical Assistance Collaborative

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, many governors were looking for ways to strengthen substance use disorder (SUD) provider capacity as part of their comprehensive response to the opioid epidemic. However, the imperative is now greater than ever as providers and states face unprecedented fiscal challenges, and there are increasing reports that the country is seeing an increase in need for SUD treatment as a result of the stress, social isolation and job loss associated with the pandemic.

At the same time, SUD providers, many of whom are Medicaid providers, are facing financial hardship as they lose revenue due to lower utilization, face new costs for personal protective equipment, and are required to reconfigure their work spaces and approach to providing care to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

In “State Strategies to Support Access to Substance Use Disorder Treatment Services Through the COVID-19 Pandemic,” a new issue brief prepared on behalf of the National Governors Association and in partnership with the Technical Assistance Collaborative, Manatt Health provides an overview of strategies that governors are using to address these challenges even as they face the most severe fiscal crisis seen in decades. With expected revenue shortfalls of 25 percent or more for the upcoming fiscal year, governors are deploying an array of strategies including leveraging federal funding opportunities, taking advantage of new emergency flexibility to support access to medication-assisted treatment, working with SUD providers to develop and disseminate information, and integrating SUD treatment providers and patients into their states’ broader response to COVID-19.

To access the full issue brief, click here.

The authors would like to thank Hannah Wagner for her research assistance.

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