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HHS makes $195 Million Available to Battle the Growing Opioid Abuse Crisis

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced the availability of $195 million funding opportunity available to community health centers. This would be used to expand access to mental health and substance abuse services with a specific focus on the awareness, treatment, and prevention of opioid abuse across the United States plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories. The awards from this funding opportunity are expected to be made in September 2017.

Community health centers that are selected to receive an award will be able to use the funds to hire additional personnel dedicated to mental health and substance abuse services and to improve and utilize health information technology and training in order to support the expansion of mental health and substance abuse services as well as their integration into primary care. HHS Secretary Tom Price, M.D.’s highest priorities are for these funds to be used to better address serious mental illness and to fight the growing opioid epidemic.

“Addressing serious mental illness across our nation and combating the opioid epidemic are two of the Department’s top priorities,” said Secretary Price. “Integration is key to solving these challenges. This funding will help our nation’s health centers provide that integration for mental health services and opioid addiction treatment.”

“Providing behavioral health care in a primary medical care setting reduces costs and leads to improved patient outcomes,” said Dr. George Sigounas, Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). “This is especially true when it comes to substance abuse, including opioid addiction.”

Today, health centers employ nearly 190,000 people. With this new funding opportunity, health centers will be able to increase personnel to help expand access to mental health services and substance abuse services.

Applications for the Access Increases for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (AIMS) award are due July 26, 2017.

The Trump Administration and Secretary Price have identified the opioid crisis as one of the top priorities for improving the health of the American people. HHS has outlined five specific strategies to combat the ongoing opioid crisis. These include: improving access to treatment and recovery services; targeting availability and distribution of overdose-reversing drugs; strengthening timely public health data and reporting; supporting cutting-edge research; and advancing the practice of pain management. Read More

If you are an employer and your drug test panel does not specifically include testing for “Expanded Opiates” then it will not identify those that are illegally taking medications like Lorcet, Vicodin, Numorphan, OxyContin, hydrocodone, Dilaudid, Percocet and more. The 5 or 10 panel test for the opiates of codeine and morphine and some will also include Heroin but not the ones listed above. have questions about what you are currently testing for or should be testing for then give us a call and we will be happy to answer your questions and make recommendations based on your specific goals and needs.