Gov. Hutchinson Applauds Recent Strides in Tackling DD Wait-List, Substance-Abuse Treatment
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas is making significant progress in reducing the number of those waiting for in-home medical care and in providing treatment for mental-health issues and substance abuse, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced at Tuesday’s meeting of the Little Rock Rotary Club.
During the 2017 general assembly, legislators designated money from the Tobacco Settlement Fund that has allowed the Department of Human Services to reduce the waiting list of over 3,000 developmentally disabled Arkansans seeking in-home care.
“I am pleased that we have made it a priority to care for the most vulnerable in our state,” Governor Hutchinson said. “With the support of the legislature, my administration has been able to significantly reduce the number of developmentally disabled who are currently waiting for in-home care. I am delighted that 500 additional Arkansans will now have access to quality in-home care, rather than placement in an institution.”
In addition, under DHS rules that went into effect July 1, those with substance-abuse and mental-health issues will now have quicker and simpler access to treatment and counseling.
The new rules allow and encourage new providers to become certified to accept and bill for Medicaid beneficiaries who need outpatient mental health and substance abuse services.
“It is no secret that the abuse of opioids and methamphetamines is a growing issue in dire need of a solution. We must have a system in place to help people who struggle with addiction,” Governor Hutchinson said. “We have expanded the services that Medicaid covers, and for the first time, we are allowing counselors to house their practices in the same building with physicians. This common-sense approach will increase access to addiction treatment by allowing doctors to send a patient directly to a counselor, rather than hoping the patient will keep an appointment across town a week later.”