On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into law. Much of the funding in this act is related to COVID-19 relief, such as vaccine distribution, unemployment assistance, lending to small businesses and organizations, and expanded testing.
However, a portion of the spending bill is also related to substance use disorder (SUD) treatment. Most of the SUD funding involves publicly funded treatment, but there is also funding available for all SUD treatment providers through the previously approved Healthcare Provider Fund.
Under the latest spending bill:
Each of the Substance Use Prevention and Treatment and Community Mental Health programs administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will receive $1.75 billion.
Another $80 million will go toward mental and behavioral health training for healthcare professionals and public safety officers.
$20 million will go toward evidence-based education and awareness for healthcare professionals and first responders.
$40 million will go toward the promotion of mental and behavioral health among healthcare professionals and first responders.
A new SAMHSA program, intended to provide prevention programs for overdose and other drug misuse, will receive $30 million.
The Health Resources and Services Administration will receive $100 million for its Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training program, with the aim to promote focused training that will expand access to services.
Other funding will go toward a new grant program for community-based and behavioral health organizations throughout the nation. Organizations in each state can apply directly for the grants, which can be used for medication-assisted treatment and telehealth treatment services.
Over the past year, substance misuse and overdose fatalities have increased across the nation. The BestNotes blog has previously highlighted some of the findings around this trend.
Recently, analysis of nearly 190 million emergency department (ED) visits found higher rates of opioid overdoses between March and October 2020 compared to the same dates in 2019. From mid-April onward, the weekly rates of ED visits for drug overdoses rose by as much as 45 percent compared to the same period in 2019. That study was published in JAMA Psychiatry on Feb. 3.
States and communities that have struggled with increased behavioral health concerns are preparing to make use of their portions of the spending bill. For example, Hawaii is set to receive about $15 million to support mental health programs such as the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant and the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant. Rhode Island will receive an estimated $3-4 million, for the state to distribute to local governments and community organizations to use in providing treatment and prevention services.
Check out the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers for further analysis and public policy updates.
Expanding funding and access to SUD services means that addiction treatment providers could see greater demand. Make sure your practice software can keep up.
BestNotes EHR solutions, designed for behavioral health and addiction treatment providers, were designed to help you reduce frustration, save time, and boost profitability. From admission to eprescribing to outcome tracking to reporting, we cover the entire client experience and your business process. Contact us to schedule a free demo and see how we can help your practice succeed.