Less access to substance abuse facilities in South, Midwest

Dec. 28, 2013 at 4:46 PM
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ATLANTA, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- Substance use disorder facilities in 60 percent of U.S. counties accept Medicaid but access is not as prevalent in the South and Midwest, researchers say.

Janet R. Cummings of Emory University in Atlanta and colleagues used data from the 2009 National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services file and the 2011-12 Area Resource file to examine county-level substance use disorder facility availability, and whether race/ethnicity, poverty and insurance were associated with availability.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry, indicated substance use disorder facilities that accept Medicaid were less common in Southern and Midwestern states than in other areas of the country, and U.S. counties with a higher percentage of black, rural, and/or uninsured residents were less likely to have one of those facilities.

The expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act of 2010 sets the stage for helping address longstanding gaps in access to substance use disorder treatment for states that opt-in to the expansion, Cummings said.

"Although the Medicaid expansion will provide states with an opportunity to bolster the substance use disorder treatment system with new federal funds, additional policies may need to be implemented to ensure that there is an infrastructure in place to serve new enrollees who seek substance use disorder treatment across local communities," the study authors wrote in the study.

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