The ARTS (Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services) program has brought substance abuse treatment to Medicaid recipients, and that’s a great thing. It has also brought a lot of changes to substance abuse treatment in Virginia. In particular, it includes the reinstatement of the long forgotten residential detox license. A recent article discusses the how the program will help the opioid crisis we have.
Williamsville is very happy that Medicaid has recognized preventative treatment as the way to go, rejoining major insurance carriers and supporting substance abuse treatment. This change is a cheaper alternative to incarceration or the problems that result from untreated addictions. We are also pleased that the government has made this effort to improve access for treatment! They are taking a closer look at the existing policies and making some reasonable changes to how business is done in general. The response of the government to this new effort has just been terrific. Their effort spent looking at how to make substance abuse treatment better in general will benefit every client, not just those getting Medicaid benefits. We are fortunate that Virginia has such a good team at the government level. We are also pleased that the time team took the time to advance the momentum and public interest to re-evaluate the basic policies for higher efficiency and better outcomes.
The changes made to this point will have a far-reaching impact for Virginians. The end result will be easier access to treatment for those who need it. One clear example of this is the old detox protocol. It stated that any amount of alcohol registering on a breathalyzer required detox, even if the person was just released from detox and blew a 0.03. In this case the person clearly had a drink on the way over. Obviously this is not ideal. But we are talking about a portion of the population with a serious problem, so it is not unexpected behavior. Now, in cases like this, that person can remain at the rehab program while monitoring occurs. They will only leave for a full-fledged detox center if the condition worsens. This assumes the center has a residential detox license. The government is currently working with as many centers as possible to have this license. They are doing this because, it just makes sense, and it is the right thing to do.