US Department of Health & Human Services Awards Nearly $400 Million to Combat the Opioid Crisis

Washington DC (STL.News) – Thurday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded nearly $400 million to combat the nation’s opioid crisis.  The investments will enable HRSA-funded community health centers, rural organizations and academic institutions to establish and expand access to integrated substance use disorder and mental health services.

The awards support HHS’s Five-Point Opioid Strategy, introduced under President Trump in 2017.  The number of patients receiving medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction at HRSA-funded health centers increased 142 percent from 2016 to 2018 and, since President Trump took office, the number of patients receiving buprenorphine, a common form of MAT, has increased 28 percent.

“Health centers and behavioral health providers are on the front lines of the fight against the opioid crisis and substance abuse, especially in rural communities,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar.  “With our evidence-based strategy, HHS is working to support local communities in fighting back against substance abuse, and our united efforts are yielding results.  Together, we can end our country’s opioid crisis and lay a foundation for a healthier country where every American can access the mental healthcare they need.”

“HRSA programs play a key role in the Trump Administration’s efforts to battle the nation’s opioid crisis,” said HRSA Acting Administrator Tom Engels.  “From implementing and expanding substance use disorder services at HRSA-funded health centers to increasing support and training to our nation’s behavioral health workforce to improving access to treatment in rural areas, today’s announcement demonstrates the Administration’s commitment to ending this crisis.”

HRSA is awarding more than $200 million to 1,208 health centers across the nation to increase access to high quality, integrated behavioral health services, including the prevention or treatment of mental health conditions and/or substance use disorders, including opioid use disorder through the Integrated Behavioral Health Services (IBHS) program.

View a list of IBHS award recipients here: https://bphc.hrsa.gov/program-opportunities/funding-opportunities/behavioral-health/awards

In addition to HRSA’s investments in community health centers, HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy is awarding more than $111 million to 96 rural organizations across 37 states as part of its Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP) initiative.  These funds, which also include an evaluation of the initiative, will strengthen rural communities’ capacity to provide needed SUD prevention, treatment, and recovery services and build the evidence base for interventions that are effective in rural settings.

  • 80 rural consortia received RCORP-Implementation awards of $1 million each to implement a set of prevention, treatment, and recovery activities.
  • 12 recipients received RCORP-Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Expansion awards of up to $725,000 each to establish and/or expand MAT in rural health clinic, hospital, Health Center Look-Alike, and tribal settings.
  • Three recipients received $6.6 million each to establish Centers of Excellence on Substance Use Disorders (CoEs) that will identify, translate, disseminate, and implement evidence-based and promising practices related to the treatment for and prevention of substance use disorder (SUD).

To learn more about RCORP, and to view the lists of recipients visit: https://www.hrsa.gov/rural-health/rcorp

HRSA is also awarding nearly $70 million to Opioid Workforce Expansion Programs (OWEP) for Professionals and Paraprofessionals to fund 64 grantees and over $17 million to Graduate Psychology Education (GPE) Program to fund 49 grantees.

The awards support training across the behavioral health provider spectrum including community health workers, social workers, psychology interns and post-doctoral residents.  These programs encourage an integrated approach to training through academic and community partnerships.  These workforce investments help clinicians to provide integrated behavioral health care and treatment services in under-served communities.