OBJECTIVE: Combatting the opioid epidemic requires systemic policy changes that address the underutilization of medication-assisted treatment, a therapy that is effective in treating opioid use disorder. In this study, we present approaches used in five states to increase medication-assisted treatment financing and access.
METHOD: We conducted case studies in five U.S. states, interviewing key informants and reviewing the published literature and unpublished documents.
RESULTS: In these states, Medicaid expansion was the most significant lever available to expand financing and access to medication-assisted treatment. Other key levers include Medicaid Section 1115 SUD demonstrations, State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis and State Opioid Response grants, state contracting mechanisms, and other state regulations.
CONCLUSIONS: States in this study reported substantial progress in increasing access to medication-assisted treatment, but empirical evidence of their effects is still emerging.