Policy Paper on Medicaid Funding for Harm Reduction

VOCAL is pleased to announce the release of a new policy paper on Medicaid funding for harm reduction services, which we developed in collaboration with the Injection Drug Users Health Alliance (IDUHA), a network representing syringe exchange providers in NYC.

Madicaid FundingIDUHA Medicaid Coverage for Harm Reduction Services CoverAs part of its efforts to reduce state Medicaid costs, the New York Medicaid Redesign Team (“MRT”) recommended the addition of harm reduction services as a Medicaid covered service. This recommendation constitutes a major shift in the manner of funding for harm reduction services, and recognizes the fact that the provision of harm reduction services is an effective method of treatment that has the potential to produce significant cost savings.

Since the MRT made its recommendations in 2011, the Injection Drug Users Health Alliance (“IDUHA”), a coalition of sixteen harm reduction providers across the five boroughs of New York City, has been working with the New York State Department of Health (“DOH”) and the AIDS Institute (“AI”) to develop the manner in which Medicaid reimbursement for the provision of harm reduction services will operate. In order to implement these changes, DOH and AI have developed a draft State Plan Amendment (“SPA”) to submit to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) for approval.

Based on the experience of its constituent organizations in the harm reduction field, this white paper provides IDUHA’s comments and policy positions regarding the content of the draft SPA and subsequent state guidance or regulation, and describes how these recommendations are consistent with the general direction of Medicaid reform in New York State.

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