FRANKFORT — In an effort to help combat the opioid crisis, Kentucky plans to use its Medicaid waiver to expand coverage and increase access to treatment and recovery services for those with Substance Use Disorder (SUD).

Beginning July 1, the Department for Medicaid Services is implementing a new standard of care for substance use treatment through the expanded services. These new standards will enhance coverage and increase access to care for Kentuckians seeking recovery from SUD.

Current Medicaid benefits provide a full range of care, including residential treatment options. The new waiver expands access to SUD providers, allows Medicaid to reimburse for short-term residential stays (up to 30 days) in mental health facilities, and adds coverage for methadone, a form of medication assisted treatment not currently covered under Kentucky Medicaid.

The waiver will also allow qualified residential treatment facilities to expand bed capacity beyond the current limits of 16 beds, while at the same time elevating program standards regarding the types of services, hours of clinical care, and credentials for staff serving in residential treatment settings.

Additionally, the waiver will provide transportation services for some groups of individuals who need access to methadone treatment, which requires daily dosing and can be difficult to access for individuals without transportation services. The covered populations include former foster children; pregnant women; and children under the age of 21.

"Implementation of this SUD waiver will increase and improve services to those fighting with addiction," said Carol Steckel, Commissioner of the Department of Medicaid Services. "Giving extra support impacts quality of life for the entire family."

The enhanced Kentucky Medicaid SUD treatment package is one part of the state’s 1115 demonstration waiver, Kentucky HEALTH. Only the SUD component of the waiver submission has been approved to move forward at this time, as the Kentucky HEALTH program has been put on hold by a federal court in Washington, DC., pending the outcome of a lawsuit filed against it

However, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services says the are continuing to work toward full approval of the waiver.

Kentuckians can find access to treatment in their communities online at or by calling 1-833-8KY-HELP.

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