News & Updates Program Brief

New FORE Brief Focuses on Expanding Access to MOUD Treatment During and After Incarceration

March 23, 2023

In late January, the Biden Administration approved an amendment to California’s Section 1115 waiver, enabling the state’s Medicaid program to begin paying for certain health care services provided to people leaving jails, prisons, and youth correctional facilities. Among them are medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) and case management services that connect people with opioid use disorder to ongoing care.

Structured as a demonstration, the new payment policy presents an opportunity to vastly expand access to MOUD to individuals in the 90 days before they leave jails and prisons. But executing it will be challenging. It requires overcoming operational challenges related to staffing and workflow, as well as stigma against MOUD among correctional officers who are concerned about diversion and don’t recognize MOUD as evidence-based treatment.

A new FORE issue brief describes how our grantees have tackled these obstacles. They include a team of clinicians at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore who provided clinical and technical supports, as well as 24/7 coverage, to rural jails in Maryland that launched MOUD programs. “As our grantees have shown, there is no simple fix, but it is possible to bring the systems and services together in an effort to save lives,” says Karen Scott, MD, MPH, FORE’s president.