CMS OKs Medicaid demonstrations aimed at opioid abuse in Nebraska, Minnesota

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services approved Medicaid demonstration waivers, also known as Section 1115 demonstrations, in Minnesota and Nebraska. (Getty/wellesenterprises)

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved Medicaid demonstration waivers, also known as Section 1115 demonstrations, in Minnesota and Nebraska.

The demonstration projects, both approved for a five-year period beginning on July 1, are aimed at increasing access to treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) and other substance use disorders (SUD). Both states have been approved to receive Medicaid matching funds for treatment in facilities that meet the definition of an institution for mental diseases.

In Minnesota, Medicaid-eligible individuals will receive additional mental health services through the state’s Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics, and the funding will allow them to integrate community healthcare providers. 

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In Nebraska, the funding is expected to increase existing substance abuse-related services and offer those services to beneficiaries in more appropriate treatment locations, including residential facilities.  

RELATED: CMS issues new guidance on Medicaid demonstrations as work requirements go before judge

In March, CMS rolled out new monitoring and evaluation tools for Medicaid Section 1115 waivers, saying the guidance and resources set monitoring metrics and suggest research approaches. The states will be expected to monitor and report the impact of changes to address SUD and OUD over the course of the demonstrations.

States with previously approved demonstration approvals include Illinois, New Jersey, Louisiana, Indiana, Kentucky, Utah, Vermont, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Washington, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Alaska, New Mexico, Kansas, Rhode Island, Michigan, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, California and West Virginia.

Among the demonstration projects, it was announced in May that CMS will allow Florida to test a program to offer greater behavioral health services and housing access to beneficiaries with severe mental illness or substance use disorder. It also approved a waiver in Maryland to amend its Health Choice managed care program to test projects aimed at expanding access to substance abuse treatment, dental care and better managing diabetes. 

It has also notably used the 1115 waivers to approve work requirements in eight states including Arkansas and Kentucky, a move that has been successfully challenged in the courts.

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