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Why Drug Overdoses in New Jersey Are Likely to Head South

WEST ORANGE, N.J., May 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- New Jersey recently raised average Medicaid reimbursement rates for different modalities of addiction treatment by over 100%, on average. "This is good news for Medicaid patients suffering from addiction, as it will incentivize more high quality addiction treatment programs to treat the underserved Medicaid population and help reduce overdose deaths," said Dr. Indra Cidambi, M.D., Addiction Expert and Medical Director at Center for Network Therapy (CNT).

After the introduction of ObamaCare, several states expanded the Medicaid program to cover more people, which increased access to addiction treatment. "However, overdose deaths from licit and illicit drugs continued to grow as Medicaid reimbursement rates for addiction treatment were too low to attract good quality treatment programs," commented Dr. Cidambi.

Besides increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates significantly several months ago, New Jersey also started paying for more modalities of addiction treatment. New Jersey Medicaid expanded coverage for Medication Assisted Treatment, recognizing the effectiveness of the approach. "New Jersey also validated the efficacy of a new modality of treatment, Ambulatory (Outpatient) Detoxification for alcohol, benzodiazepines and opiates, by adding it to the Medicaid roster," said Dr. Cidambi. Ambulatory Detoxification was not a covered benefit previously. While not every Medicaid patient suffering from addiction will be a candidate for Ambulatory Detox, it expands treatment options. "At the Center for Network Therapy, outcomes from Ambulatory Detoxification have been significantly better than that of inpatient detoxification," said Dr. Cidambi.

Given the heavy regulatory burden and high costs associated with addiction treatment and medications, previous Medicaid reimbursement rates allowed little margin to provide high quality care. New Jersey Medicaid's upward rate revision will partially address this issue and likely benefit tens of thousands of people with Medicaid as their primary health insurance. "I do foresee more high quality addiction treatment programs begin accepting Medicaid over the next couple of years," predicted Dr. Cidambi. "This should help bend the growth curve of drug overdose deaths, as patients with Medicaid will not only have less wait time, outcomes will also be better," she added. Currently Medicaid patients have to wait weeks to access addiction treatment, leaving them more vulnerable to overdoses.

While some states have raised reimbursement rates for addiction treatment, it is not clear if they have been as significant as that of New Jersey. "States that have not made significant upward revisions to addiction treatment reimbursement rates, should follow New Jersey's lead," commented Dr. Cidambi. "The drug epidemic we are facing is claiming 200 people a day nationally. New Jersey's approach is notable in that it is not just throwing money at the problem, it is doing so in a way that will help increase access to high quality addiction treatment for people with Medicaid, which should help reduce drug overdose deaths significantly over the next couple of years," she concluded.

About Dr. Cidambi
Indra Cidambi, M.D., Medical Director, Center for Network Therapy, is a pioneer in Addiction Treatment. She introduced Ambulatory Detoxification for treating withdrawal from Alcohol, Benzodiazepines, and Opiates. She has a fellowship in addiction medicine from NYU/Bellevue and is board certified in Addiction Medicine and Psychiatry. She is the President of the New Jersey chapter of ASAM.

About Center for Network Therapy (CNT)
CNT is New Jersey's first facility to be licensed to provide Ambulatory (Outpatient) Detoxification and Withdrawal Management for alcohol, anesthetics, benzodiazepines, and opiates. Led by Board Certified Addiction Psychiatrist, Indra Cidambi, M.D., experienced physicians and nurses provide high-quality treatment. Dr. Cidambi and team have successfully detoxed over 1500 patients in 5+ years.

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SOURCE Center for Network Therapy