Maine DHHS Press / News Release

January 7, 2020

Maine DHHS Wins $5.3M Federal Award to Help Mothers and Babies Affected by the Opioid Crisis

AUGUSTA – Maine will receive $5.3 million in federal funds as one of 10 states selected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to participate in the Maternal Opioid Misuse (MOM) model, which aims to improve care for pregnant and postpartum women with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) and their infants.

Under the model, Maine will take steps to create a statewide system of evidence-based and comprehensive care for women with substance use disorders through MaineCare, the state's Medicaid health coverage program for low-income residents. The goal is to increase access to high-quality treatment and reduce costs while better coordinating and integrating care.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services' (DHHS) Office of MaineCare Services will collaborate with six care delivery partners to pursue this model statewide: MaineGeneral Medical Center, MaineHealth, Mid Coast-Parkview Hospital, Northern Light Health, Penobscot Community Health Care, and Pines Health Services.

The grant period is for five years, and DHHS anticipates expanding to additional sites over that time.

"This award will bolster our aggressive response to the opioid crisis under the leadership of Governor Mills," said Maine DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew. "Ensuring the health and wellbeing of mothers, children and families affected by opioid use disorder is key to our success. Under this model we can target compassionate, effective support from before birth all the way through infants' crucial first year of life. We're proud to work with our care partners throughout the state on this initiative."

"This represents another important part of our strategy in the Mills Administration's coordinated work to combat the opioid crisis," said Maine Opioid Response Director Gordon Smith. "Focusing additional attention and resources toward mothers and children affected by opioid use disorder will benefit our response and the state as a whole."

The award addresses a critical need for Maine families, communities, and providers. In state fiscal year 2018, the DHHS Office of Child and Family Services received 904 reports regarding infants born exposed to substances, including opioids, which accounts for about 7 percent of live births in Maine. While this represents an ongoing decrease since 2014 and includes babies born to mothers who are on recommended medication-assisted treatment, infants exposed to opioids before birth are at a higher risk of being born early and with lower birth weights.

Critical components of the MOM model include creating a "no wrong door" system to screening, welcoming and engaging women in care; supporting the treatment and recovery of mothers with group-based medication-assisted treatment; increasing the capacity of integrated care teams to deliver evidence-based care, including through telehealth; coordinating delivery, hospital, and post-partum care for mothers and infants; enhancing home visiting and community supports; and conducting a public outreach campaign.

By the third year of this initiative, DHHS plans to have established a sustainable way to fund through MaineCare the services necessary to support this care model moving forward.

During the first year of the Mills Administration, Maine DHHS has taken action to improve the health of children and families in Maine, including launching a statewide public education campaign called Safe Sleep for ME, extending the eligibility for Public Health Nursing home visits to all newborns, promoting access to a coordinated system of perinatal care, and hiring a Chief Child Health Officer to ensure kids get the full range of health and human services.

Governor Mills' first executive order expanded MaineCare, which as of October 31, provided nearly 4,800 members with treatment for opioid use disorder. The Governor's second executive order directed a wide range of actions to stem the opioid crisis, including: eliminating Medicaid limits on medication-assisted treatment; distributing 12,000 doses of naloxone, training 200 additional recovery coaches, and expanding treatment in emergency rooms and jails and prisons. DHHS also secured a $2 million SUPPORT Act grant to expand substance use disorder treatment capacity.

More information about the Maternal Opioid Misuse model, including a fact sheet and list of participants, can be found at: innovation.cms.gov/initiatives/maternal-opioid-misuse-model/.