Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Play

Connecting health outcomes to climate solutions and lower utility bills, Engagement Center finding success near Boston's troubled 'Mass and Cass' and more protections coming for PA Children's Service providers.

Play

Georgia breaks a state record for early voting, Democrats are one step closer to codifying same-sex marriage, and Arizona county officials refuse to certify the results of the midterm elections.

Play

A water war in Southwest Utah has ranchers and Native tribes concerned, federal solar subsidies could help communities transition to renewable energy, and Starbucks workers attempt to unionize.

Workforce Shortage Still Limits Some Substance-Use Treatment Providers

Play

Thursday, November 11, 2021   

PORTLAND, Maine -- Maine's providers of substance-abuse treatment and some other behavioral-health services are seeing a major increase in reimbursement rates going into effect this month.

But advocates for mental-health support say many agencies are facing major workforce shortages and other crises that prevent them from billing at all with the new rates.

Oliver Bradeen is executive director of Milestone Recovery, a nonprofit helping people facing homelessness and addiction. It's one of the few medically monitored withdrawal centers in Maine, often known as detox centers.

"Even with the increased rates, we're still struggling with workforce, and I know that's a common theme with the added level of COVID being a challenge," Bradeen explained. "There's just such a nursing shortage that it's hard to attract new talent from the nursing field."

He said their detox is currently closed because of those staffing shortages. He added while the improved rates are a step in the right direction, it could take time for providers who've been struggling to use them.

Malory Shaughnessy, executive director of the Alliance for Addiction and Mental Health Services, said the increase in demand during the pandemic, combined with the severe impacts on the workforce, are putting a huge strain on providers, and waitlists for services are growing daily.

She emphasized it is important the Department of Health and Human Services invest more of the federal relief funding into these services now, as well as begin the proposed regular review of MaineCare's reimbursement rates.

"It's all going to be really good for the system of care," Shaughnessy projected. "But the current reality of many agencies is the situation is pretty raw. And it needs some direct infusion of resources and support right now."

Jeff Tiner, chief program officer for clinical services at Catholic Charities Maine, said putting more funds toward substance-abuse treatment is the right thing to do to support Mainers, and saves taxpayer money on emergency services and the criminal-justice system.

Data shows nationally, more than 85% of the prison population either has a substance-use disorder or were incarcerated for something involving drugs or drug use.

"We see the overdose rates that have increased exponentially," Tiner observed. "I don't think there's anyone in my world that has not been affected pretty close to home for those losses. Investment in prevention and support and recovery is really well worth it, and is a smart as well as compassionate."

Disclosure: Alliance for Addiction and Mental Health Services contributes to our fund for reporting on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, and Mental Health. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
The greatest number of cases eligible for the Juvenile Restoration Act have come from Baltimore. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Maryland's Juvenile Restoration Act has been in effect for more than a year now and its impact has people talking about additional reforms. The act …


Social Issues

Local candidates that signed onto a no-corporate-money pledge made midterm election gains in Charleston. Katie Lauer, co-chair of West Virginia …

Health and Wellness

A new statewide initiative aims to help connect domestic-violence survivors with medical providers, with a focus on treating traumatic brain injury…


Children living near refineries, highways and other sources of air pollution are disproportionately at risk of developing respiratory illness. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

A successful program that helps low-income households weatherize homes and lower energy bills is setting its sights on improving the health outcomes o…

Social Issues

The Arizona New Parent Guide is a resource that is intended to help new parents meet the challenges of having a baby and support their baby's health …

Around 56% of those a href="https://pewrsr.ch/3XImUy7" target="_blank">surveyed by Pew Research view climate-change policies as good for the environment. However, Americans are split on whether those policies help or harm the U.S. economy. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

An environmental advocacy group in Virginia has been working to bridge generational gaps. Third Act Virginia began as a group of elder climate …

Social Issues

In just two months, it should be easier for providers of children's services in Pennsylvania's child-welfare and foster-care system to get the …

Social Issues

Human-rights activists in New Hampshire say the growing number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills at the Statehouse is encouraging right-wing extremists to intimida…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021