After talk of federal action to combat the opioid crisis, $350 million is now available in grants for health centers addressing substance abuse and mental health.
“As our nation faces an opioid epidemic, HRSA’s programs and extensive networks place us in a unique position to leverage our expertise and resources to make a significant impact in combating the opioid crisis,” says HRSA Administrator, George Sigounas, MS, Ph.D.
This funding stems from a bill signed into effect February 2018. The White House declared $6 billion in funding would go to fighting the opioid crisis. At CNN’s State of the Union coverage on February 11, White House spokesperson Kellyanne Conway said part of this funding was to help those experiencing addiction already. That’s where the new HRSA grants come in.
HRSA (Health Resources & Services Administration) oversees 1,400+ federally qualified health centers throughout America. With the current mental health and substance abuse crisis, particularly opioids like heroin, the agency is taking action through new funding opportunities, for health centers that serve over 25 million people throughout America, as well as in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Congress’ omnibus bill, announced in the spring of 2018, adds $415 million for HRSA to improve addiction treatment access, particularly in underserved communities. These funds are will empower the new health center grants.
Ideal Candidates for HRSA Funding
Community health centers. Why? They have become a likely gateway to people with substance abuse disorder for both integrated care and primary care. In fact, in 2017, over 64,000 patients at these facilities received MAT (medication-assisted treatment). The number of these clinicians providing MAT went up by 75% from 2016 to 2017. Additional funds for these federally funded health care centers seek to address these startling numbers.
What Types of Grants Are Available?
There are two main types of grants are:
- Grants that go toward full-time employees.
- Grants that help facility infrastructure via new furniture and equipment.
Compliance is a big factor in the grants. For example, the GAO (Government Accountability Office) shared that the federal government needed to keep a closer eye on contract pharmacies in the 340B program. This program allows for drug discounts, potentially making substance abuse even more likely.
This is why one goal of the grants is to hire new personnel that help crack down on compliance because, currently, the exact method of ensuring compliance is left up to the covered entity”.
Grants Going to Good
Our government and its agencies taking action to fight this crisis is indeed a good step in the right direction. We look forward to seeing the funds go to great organizations and make a positive impact on individual health care and treatment.