Maine DHHS Press / News Release

March 15, 2019

DHHS Adopts Improvements to Opioid Health Home Program

Changes further the priorities in Governor Mills' Executive Order to Immediately Respond to Maine's Opioid Epidemic

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Department of Health and Human Services has adopted changes to its Opioid Health Home (OHH) program to encourage greater participation among health providers and expand access to critical addiction services.

Opioid Health Homes provide a team-based approach for treating individuals with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). OHH services include office visits, counseling, medication, comprehensive care management and coordination, promoting healthy behaviors and activities, ensuring safe transitions between care settings, and making referrals to community and social support services.

The model was originally implemented in 2017 in response to Maine's opioid epidemic and serves individuals who receive MaineCare or who do not have insurance.

The recent changes to the OHH program include establishing tiered levels of care. Providers will now be reimbursed based on each tier, ranging from services for patients just beginning treatment to those who are stabilized. This enables provider organizations to better meet the needs of their patients, and translates to a four-fold increase in reimbursement for services delivered to the highest-needs members in the early, critical stages of treatment.

The changes also intend to make it easier for current and new providers to deliver Integrated Medication-Assisted Treatment (IMAT) services, by altering existing OHH staffing requirements and adding a patient navigator to the OHH team. This increases flexibility for provider organizations to join and sustain the program, which will improve accessibility to services for all individuals with an OUD.

"With these changes, the Department hopes to make it easier for Maine residents to access treatment and receive the care they need all the way from prevention through recovery," said DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew. "The Department is committed to an ongoing evaluation of the OHH model to ensure that it is flexible, accountable, and encourages broad provider participation across the state."

"These improvements to the OHH program will give providers the opportunity for innovation and flexibility as they determine how to meet the needs of individuals with OUD," said Gordon Smith, Maine's Director of Opioid Response. "Increased accessibility to treatment is critical to successfully responding to the opioid crisis."

OHHs are one component of Maine's wider substance abuse treatment network. There are currently 22 OHH organizations providing services at 48 OHH sites across Maine, and provider participation has dramatically increased in recent months. Since 2017, OHHs have served nearly 1,000 MaineCare members and over 300 uninsured individuals.

The changes to OHH rules are effective March 16, 2019. A more comprehensive explanation of these rules can be found at: www.maine.gov/dhhs/oms/rules/adopted.shtml.