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Not Surprisingly, Higher Medicaid Rates Improve Access

Higher Medicaid payments for substance abuse disorder treatment lead to better access to such treatment, a new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office has concluded.

According to the study, which focused on six states,

State officials and SUD [substance abuse disorders] providers in the selected states with larger rate changes reported greater effects on SUD service availability compared to those in states with smaller changes. For example, state officials said that larger rate increases helped increase the number of SUD providers participating in Medicaid, but did not generally note SUD service availability effects for smaller rate increases.  Providers in selected states identified certain factors, such as Medicaid program requirements, that could affect how much the availability of SUD services increased or decreased following rate changes.

The communities served by private safety-net hospitals often have larger numbers of residents with substance abuse disorders than most communities, making this a major challenge for such hospitals.

Learn more about how Medicaid rates affect access to substance abuse disorder services in the new GAO report Medicaid:  States’ Changes to Payment Rates for Substance Use Disorder Services.