Kudos to Gov. Larry Hogan and Dennis Schrader, the governor's newly-appointed secretary for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, for their leadership and vision in negotiating significant improvements with our state's Medicaid services ("Md. reaches agreement with Medicaid," Dec. 28). Especially noteworthy is now allowing Medicaid to reimburse residential treatment services for people with substance use disorder.
Medicaid has been providing funding for outpatient treatment, albeit well below the actual cost of those comprehensive services. Prior to the governor's new agreement with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Medicaid could not pay for in-patient treatment and care. For low-income individuals and families, the $30,000 costs for 29-day residential treatment was almost always beyond their financial means.
This new Maryland strategy for using Medicaid to reduce and reverse statewide abuse of heroin and other drugs should serve as a model for the Trump administration and new Congress. Maryland's approach will help reduce the suffering of people and families and increase the efficiency of hospital emergency departments, the courts, law enforcement, and public and private human services agencies.
Don Mathis, Havre de Grace
The writer serves on the boards of Addiction Connections Resource in Fallston and Doctors for America.