CMS offering $50M in grants to help state Medicaid programs tackle opioid epidemic

The Trump administration is offering $50 million in grants to assist state Medicaid programs with addressing the opioid crisis. 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a notice for a funding round on Tuesday for the grants, which are meant to bolster programs for treatment and recovery from substance abuse. 

State Medicaid agencies are asked to submit 18-month pilot proposals by Aug. 9. The agency will select at least 10 applicants for funding through the grant program, CMS said. 

“CMS is pulling every lever to combat the opioid epidemic and increasing access for Americans suffering from substance use disorder is essential to addressing this issue,” Kimberly Brandt, CMS principal deputy administrator for policy and operations, said in the announcement. 

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“State-level innovation has and will continue to be key in addressing the opioid crisis and this funding opportunity provides states with a significant opportunity to expand access to critical treatments for their citizens,” Brandt said. 

The grant program is part of CMS’ requirements under the SUPPORT Act, which was passed in December. Under the law, CMS is authorized to conduct a 54-month demonstration on programs targeting substance abuse disorder, and it’s beginning with the initial 18-month phase in this funding round. 

After this planning phase ends, up to five states will be invited to continue for the remaining 36 months, CMS said. 

The White House has made the opioid epidemic one of the central pillars of its healthcare policy work.