AP NEWS

Federal funds to expand medication-assisted treatment

March 26, 2019

CHARLESTON — Community agencies that want to offer medication-assisted treatment will be eligible to apply for portions of $14.6 million in federal funding to be awarded through the West Virginia Bureau for Behavioral Health.

The state was notified last week it would receive $14.6 million in supplemental funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to expand access to medication-assisted treatment and social supports.

The money is in addition to the $28 million in federal funding to expand medication assisted treatment that West Virginia received last fall and the $28 million it expects again this fall, said Christina Mullins, commissioner of the state Bureau for Behavioral Health.

“We’ll be focusing our efforts on expanding community-based treatment,” Mullins said. “We’ll be able to reach more communities than we originally thought. We’ll be looking at peer-recovery supports and trying to incorporate peers into our different programs, and we’ll also, I think, be evaluating the need for other successful programs like the quick-response teams.”

Mullins said the $14.6 million will allow the BBH to provide training funds to agencies that have never provided MAT treatment.

“We’ll find some startup dollars for folks to begin offering the services in local communities,” she said. “So some of those community agencies have already applied to the Bureau for Behavioral Health to do that. This money will allow us to fund more communities to do that same thing.”

The funds will also be used to provide peer supports — people with lived experience with addiction who are in recovery and can help others decided to start or stay in treatment, Mullins said.

“Peers are a valuable form of support during this process, and some of that will also be made available through these funds as well,” Mullins said.

Mullins said the bureau plans to award the funds to local agencies “ASAP” but has a deadline of this fall. The funding announcements will be posted on the agency’s website https://dhhr. wv.gov/bhhf/Pages/default. aspx.

Any community agency able to provide medication assisted treatment is eligible to apply, a state Department of Health and Human Resources spokeswoman said.

“In context of what West Virginia usually receives as far as grant funds, this is a lot of money,” Mullins said. “And we’re anxious to be able to get it out into the communities to be able to improve access to treatment when people are ready for treatment.”

“Peers are a valuable form of support during this process, and some of that will also be made available through these funds as well.”

Christina Mullins

Commissioner of the state Bureau for Behavioral Health