Tuesday, September 23, 2014

HAC of Montgomery County – 2011/2012 Policy Agenda

Heroin Action Coalition of Montgomery County
2011 – 2012 Policy Agenda
1)               Provide funding and other support to community coalitions to educate families about the epidemic of opiate addiction and to collaborate with local law enforcement agencies, treatment providers, schools, health care organizations, business leaders and other social agencies within their operational jurisdictions to provide local solutions;
2)               Provide incentives for health care practitioners and general practice physicians to raise the priority for addiction diagnosis and treatment to the same level of import as other chronic diseases and to routinely provide screening and brief intervention for substance abuse;
3)               Educate policymakers, welfare caseworkers, juvenile justice workers, school administrators and others on the nature of addiction and the effectiveness of treatment;
4)               Provide training for treatment providers on evidence-based programs and “best practices” and offer opportunities for providers to share information and strategies with other providers;
5)               Assess unmet community needs regarding the continuum of care for addiction treatment services and ensure that each and every Marylander, suffering from an opiate addiction, has access to the full continuum of care, including the evidence-based “best practice” of a minimum of three months inpatient treatment, followed by outpatient treatment and wrap-around services, as well as on-going case management for recovering addicts with co-occurring mental health disorders;
6)               Ensure that treatment is appropriate for culturally diverse sub-populations.  For instance, non-violent adolescents, without a history of criminal behavior, may feel intimidated and threatened to the extent that they are unable to benefit from treatment, when they are housed with a population of predominantly violent juvenile offenders, who have been referred to the treatment facility by the juvenile justice system.  Adolescents in need of juvenile detention have very different needs than those entering treatment on a voluntary basis for their addiction;
7)               Ensure that all persons recovering from opioid addiction have access to Medicated Addiction Treatment (MAT), particularly buprenorphine and Vivitrol, and that there are a sufficient number of physicians providing MAT throughout the state, and that insurance companies, as well as publicly funded healthcare, are mandated to provide this prescription coverage with a low or no co-pay;
8)               Mandate involuntary treatment for minor children with addictions, by changing “medical necessity criteria” for emergency hospitalization and acute care services to include addiction.  A child with a daily heroin habit should be treated the same as a child who has attempted suicide.  Both are equally fatal and both should be considered an “endangerment to self or others”;
9)               Require all insurance plans, as well as public funding streams, to provide sufficient coverage for this full continuum of care;
10)           Ensure that “addiction disorder” is recognized by public schools under The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines, and that students who are in recovery are entitled to Individualized Education Plan (IEP) accommodations;
11)           Routinely gather data on the outcomes of treatment providers and reward those with successful results, while penalizing those that do not achieve expected standards;
12)           Implement a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) within the state;
13)           Foster Prescription Drug Disposal Programs and create incentives for patients to return any unused prescription opiates to these programs;
14)           Require arrested individuals to undergo assessment for drug and alcohol abuse and require individuals with substance abuse problems to participate in a treatment program that utilizes the full “continuum of care” spectrum, as a condition of pretrial release, sentencing, probation, or parole;
15)           Strengthen and expand existing Drug Court Programs within the state, rather than incarcerating non-violent offenders whose charges stemmed from or were a result of their untreated addictions;
16)           Devise a state system, headed by The Maryland Governor’s Office, to ensure that all state agencies collaborate to provide the full array of services necessary to treat the multiple needs of an individual client with a substance abuse disorder, regardless of where or how he or she entered the state system.  The goal is to ensure that the client is able to easily and efficiently access a full range of necessary services without going through multiple processes in multiple agencies ;
17)           Monitoring insurance parity should be a top priority with a highly publicized and easily accessible office designated to receive and investigate all consumer complaints in a timely manner.

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