Addiction Treatment Capacity in Health Centers: The Role of Medicaid Reimbursement and Targeted Grant Funding

Psychiatr Serv. 2020 Jul 1;71(7):684-690. doi: 10.1176/ Epub 2020 May 22.


Objective: Expanding access to addiction screening and treatment in primary care, particularly in underserved communities, is a key part of the fight against the opioid epidemic. This study explored correlates of addiction treatment capacity in federally qualified health centers participating in the Midwest Clinicians' Network (MWCN).

Methods: Two surveys were fielded to 132 MWCN health centers: the Health Center Survey and the Behavioral Health and Diabetes Provider Survey. A total of 77 centers and 515 primary care clinicians, respectively, responded to the surveys. Data were combined with data from the 2016 Uniform Data System and information about receipt of targeted Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant funding for addiction treatment capacity. Multivariable models examined associations between Medicaid reimbursement for addiction services, HRSA targeted grant funding, and different types of on-site addiction treatment capacity: psychiatrist and certified addiction counselor staffing, addiction counseling services, and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction.

Results: Health centers that received Medicaid behavioral health reimbursement were five times as likely as those that did not to offer addiction counseling and to employ certified addiction counselors. Health centers that received targeted HRSA funding for addiction services were more than 20 times as likely as those that did not to provide MAT and more than three times as likely to employ psychiatrists. Training needs and privacy protections on data related to addiction treatment were cited as barriers to building addiction treatment capacity.

Conclusions: Medicaid funding and targeted grant funding were associated with addiction treatment capacity in health centers.

Keywords: Alcohol and drug abuse; Mental illness and alcohol/drug abuse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Financing, Organized*
  • Health Services Accessibility / economics*
  • Humans
  • Medicaid / economics*
  • Opiate Substitution Treatment / economics
  • Substance Abuse Treatment Centers*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / economics*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy
  • United States
  • Workforce