Medicaid Financing for Services in Supportive Housing for Chronically Homeless People: Current Practices and Opportunities. 5. Substance Abuse Treatment

02/24/2012

Research on homelessness has found that a large portion of people experiencing chronic homelessness have substance abuse disorders,25 and this was confirmed by interviews with service-providers in the site visits for this project. There is a growing body of evidence that untreated substance abuse is a significant factor driving the avoidable use of hospital emergency rooms and other costly and ineffective use of health care.26 In theory, homeless people who have Medicaid coverage because they meet current income and categorical eligibility criteria may receive Medicaid-reimbursed substance abuse treatment services. However, most services that address substance use disorders are covered as optional benefits under Medicaid. Reimbursement for substance abuse treatment services is often limited and may be available only for services delivered in facilities designated as substance abuse treatment centers.

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