More will have access to opioid treatment through SoonerCare

Mike Seals - March 16, 2021 11:14 pm

by Perris Jones

Thousands of Oklahomans now have access to more opioid treatment services through the state’s Medicaid program SoonerCare.

In the past, certain prescriptions for treating opioid addiction weren’t covered through Oklahoma’s Medicaid program. But that’ll now change after the Oklahoma Healthcare Authority received approval from the federal government to increase Medicaid coverage for opioid treatment programs.

Traylor Rains, the deputy state Medicaid director for the Oklahoma Healthcare Authority, said Oklahoma is the first state in the country to take advantage of this opportunity from the federal government. Rains told KOCO 5 that this allows the state to provide Medicaid coverage and reimbursement for all FDA-approved medicated assisted treatment prescriptions used to treat opioid addiction, increasing access to care for opioid disorder treatment services for SoonerCare members.

“We were able to backdate that to Oct. 1 of 2020. What that means now for individuals covered by SoonerCare is that they can go to certain facilities – like a community mental health center, an opioid treatment program or a community addiction recovery clinic – and receive those life-saving opioid treatment medications as well as services like therapy medication training and support and rehab services,” Rains said. “By allowing SoonerCare reimbursement now, we’re actually freeing up more state dollars that the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services can utilize towards other forms of treatment not covered by SoonerCare.”

He added that the expanded coverage is critical for those with SoonerCare who before would have had to pay out of pocket for certain medication. It also allows patients to find a provider closer to home.

This will impact around 3,500 Oklahomans in the year, but Rains said he expects even more Oklahomans will benefit from it with Medicaid expansion just around the corner on July 1.



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