NJ changes Medicaid rules for treating opioid addiction

Photo credit Lacy Atkins/The Tennessean
By KYW Newsradio 1060
TRENTON, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — The Garden State has just made it easier for people in need of help to kick an opioid addiction to get it by removing a bureaucratic roadblock.

Medicaid rules needed to be changed when it came to getting approved drugs into the hands of patients, to hear New Jersey Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson tell it.

"For a long time in New Jersey Medicaid, you had to go through some hoops in order to get access to that medication," Johnson said. "Your doctor prescribed it, and then your health plan had to go through a clearance process to be able to say you could get it."

That clearance process is now gone, meaning those in need can get their treatment sooner. The change also makes it easier for physicians.

"We've heard from health care providers that they’re hesitant to offer this treatment," Johnson added. "ne of the reasons is because they know that there’s all this paperwork associated with it."

The bottom line, though, is the state’s commitment to reduce of the number of fatal opioid overdoses, which topped 3,000 last year.

About 1.7 million people in the state are on Medicaid.