June 19, 2018


House opioid package fails to invest in full continuum of care

Washington, D.C. – As the House of Representatives debates a narrow opioid epidemic response package this week, Congressman Joe Kennedy III offered an amendment that would ensure any change to the Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion include all substance use disorders and increase investments in community-based services. By temporarily repealing the IMD exclusion solely for opioid addiction, the underlying legislation would deny treatment options to patients suffering from other substance use disorders, leaving behind those with addiction to alcohol, methamphetamines and other drugs.

“Dismantling the stigma of substance use disorders and addressing this epidemic demands that treatment options are not restricted by diagnosis or demographics. By limiting the expansion of the IMD exclusion to solely opioid use disorder, this bill ignores our neighbors and loved ones battling countless other addictions. For decades, our nation responded to the crack-cocaine epidemic with handcuffs and prisons rather than treatment and health care. My amendment would ensure we do not repeat the mistakes of the past.”

The IMD exclusion is a long-standing policy under Medicaid that prohibits the federal government from providing federal Medicaid matching funds to states for services rendered to certain Medicaid-eligible individuals who are patients in IMDs. (§1905(a)(29)(B) of the Social Security Act [SSA].) When a Medicaid-eligible individual is a patient in an IMD, he or she cannot receive Medicaid coverage for services provided inside or outside the IMD. The IMD exclusion applies to individuals aged 21 through 64.


For Immediate Release:
June 19, 2018 

Dan Black (202) 225-5931

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