This bill — known as the Help for Moms and Babies Act — would aim to improve access to care for pregnant and postpartum women receiving substance use treatment (including for opioid use) in institutions for mental disease (IMDs) under Medicaid. It would allow state Medicaid plans to cover medical assistance for items or services that are provided to the woman outside the IMD.
- Not enactedThe President has not signed this bill
- The house has not voted
- The senate has not voted
Senate Committee on FinanceIntroducedMay 22nd, 2018
- senate Committees
What is it?
In-Depth: The Catholic Health Association (CHA) of the United States supports this legislation that was introduced by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI):
“Catholic health providers recognize that each human life is sacred and possesses inalienable worth, and that health care is essential to promoting and protecting the inherent dignity of every individual. We also recognize that supportive and readily available substance use disorder (SUD) treatments are essential facets of holistic, person-centered and effective health care. The first principle in our Vision for U.S. Health Care affirms our call to pay special attention to those most likely to lack access to health care, many of whom are in desperate need of SUD services. This commitment is why the Catholic health ministry strongly supports efforts to increase access to these services and ensure that they become fully integrated into our health care system.”
There are five cosponsors of this bill, including four Democrats and one Republican.
Of Note: Opioid abuse among pregnant women has reached epidemic proportions. From 1992 to 2012, the proportion of pregnant women admitted to substance abuse treatment facilities that reported a history of prescription opioid abuse increased from 2% to 28%.
Treatment of pregnant and postpartum women with substance abuse issues can improve both maternal and newborn health outcomes when provided alongside prenatal care. Special consideration is needed for women with opioid dependency, who need to be appropriately cared for to prevent both a postpartum relapse of their drug use and proper pain management.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) administers Opioid State Targeted Response (STR) grants, which provided $485 million to states and U.S. territories in FY 2017 to: 1) increase access to treatment; 2) reduce unmet treatment needs; and 3) reduce opioid overdose-related deaths through the provision of full-range prevention, treatment, and recovery services for opioid use disorder.
SAMHSA’s Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SABG) is a vital source of funding for states, accounting for approximately 32% of total state substance abuse agency funding. SABG’s flexible structure enables states to use their funds to address pressing challenges — including the opioid crisis.
SAMHSA also provides essential funding for specific high-risk and vulnerable populations, including pregnant and postpartum women. SAMHSA’s Pregnant and Postpartum Women’s (PPW) program, which serves women with opioid or other substance use disorders who are pregnant and/or newly parenting, funds treatment programs specifically for pregnant women. In November 2017, SAMHSA awarded $9.8 million over three years for new State Pilot PPW grants authorized by the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and $49 million over five years in new PPW service grants to support the recovery of pregnant and postpartum women struggling with substance abuse, including opioid addiction.
Summary by Lorelei Yang
(Photo Credit: iStock.com / RuslanDashinsky)