Contact: Amy Simmons Farber 301 347-0400
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today awarded nearly $400 million to combat the nation’s opioid crisis. The investments – which include $200 million for Community Health Centers – will establish and expand access to integrated substance use disorder and mental health services.
“Health centers and behavioral health providers are on the front lines of the fight against the opioid crisis and substance abuse, especially in rural communities,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “With our evidence-based strategy, HHS is working to support local communities in fighting back against substance abuse, and our united efforts are yielding results. Together, we can end our country’s opioid crisis and lay a foundation for a healthier country where every American can access the mental healthcare they need.”
HRSA is awarding more than $200 million to 1,208 health centers across the nation to increase access to high quality, integrated behavioral health services, including the prevention or treatment of mental health conditions and/or substance use disorders. Health centers are on the front lines in communities affected by the opioid crisis. The number of patients receiving Medication Assisted Treatment at health centers grew by 46 percent from 2017 to 2018. Also during that same time frame, 72,000 more patients were diagnosed with substance use disorders, such as opioid use disorder, for a total of 558,000.
“We are very appreciative of the recognition by HHS Secretary Azar and the Administration of the important work health centers are carrying out in communities to address this public health crisis,” said Tom Van Coverden, President and CEO of NACHC. “This investment will go far in giving health centers the tools they need to expand services, recruit and retain staff and advance evidenced-based treatment protocols to prevent and treat substance use disorders among medically underserved populations.”
The announcement was made as part of National Health Center Week (August 4-10), a national campaign that recognizes the mission and accomplishments of health centers. To learn more visit www.healthcenterweek.org. or follow @HCAdvocacy and #NHCW19 on Twitter.