Examining Substance Use Disorder Treatment Demand and Provider Capacity in a Changing Health Care System (In Focus Brief)

Publisher: Washington, DC: Mathematica Policy Research
May 31, 2018
Ellen Bouchery

Key Findings:

  • Residential and inpatient hospital capacity for SUD treatment is insufficient in many states.
  • The availability of evidence-based pharmacotherapy has increased, but challenges to further expansion remain.
  • Low wages for SUD treatment providers present challenges for expanding the workforce.
Federal policies implemented in the last decade, including the Affordable Care Act and the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, have promoted insurance coverage for substance use disorders (SUDs). By providing funding for treatment services, these federal policies were intended to increase the proportion of people with SUDs who seek and receive evidence-based treatments. This issue brief presents findings from a study meant to understand how federal policies implemented in the past decade to increase insurance coverage of SUD treatment changed demand for treatment and the state of provider capacity in the SUD treatment field.