Ohio senators introduce bipartisan bill to increase opioid treatment access


Staff report

WASHINGTON

U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown, a Cleveland Democrat, and Rob Portman, a Cincinnati-area Republican, introduced legislation Thursday that would increase access to treatment for opioid addiction.

The Medicaid CARE Act would change a current law that limits Medicaid funding for residential mental-health and substance-abuse treatment to facilities with 16 beds or fewer. Brown and Portman’s proposed legislation would increase that cap to 40 beds.

“Red tape shouldn’t keep Ohioans from needed treatment, and this simple fix will provide real relief to those struggling with addiction,” Brown said.

“We have a heroin and prescription drug crisis in our state, and this bipartisan bill would remove an unnecessary barrier that is limiting access to residential treatment in Ohio,” Portman added.

A news release from Brown and Portman says Medicaid covers 50 percent of all addiction treatment in Ohio.

The bill also would establish a $50 million youth inpatient addiction treatment grant program to fund facilities that provide substance-abuse treatment to Medicaid beneficiaries who are 21 or younger.

It also would expand treatment options for pregnant and postpartum women, according to the senators’ offices.

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