Addiction Free CA

This website provides resources and information related to the four MAT Expansion Project initiatives operated by Health Management Associates.

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About the Website

The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) has implemented the California Medications for Addiction Treatment (MAT) Expansion Project to address the opioid epidemic throughout the state. This website serves as a separate yet complementary resource to the DHCS MAT Expansion Website and provides resources and information related to the four MAT Expansion Project initiatives operated by Health Management Associates.

The California MAT Expansion Project aims to increase access to MAT, reduce unmet treatment need, and reduce opioid overdose related deaths through the provision of prevention, treatment, and recovery activities. The project focuses on individuals experiencing homelessness, youth, rural, and tribal populations with limited MAT access. The California MAT Expansion Project, composed of nearly 30 initiatives, is funded by grants from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Funding for this website was made possible (in part) by SAMHSA (Grant Award Number: H79TI081686). The views expressed in content on this website do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

For more information or questions about this site, please contact Charles Robbins (AddictionFreeCA.org Administrator) at crobbins@healthmanagement.com.
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California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS)

The Department of Health Care Services received over $475 million under the federal 21st Century Cures Act to address the opioid crisis in California through the Medications for Addiction Treatment (MAT) Expansion Project.

A projected 3,000 uninsured and underinsured individuals will receive direct treatment services for opioid use disorder (OUD). The State Opioid Response (SOR) grant will impact over 270,000 individuals through efforts to prevent opioid misuse and overdose deaths with a focus on regions with the highest overdose rates. MAT Expansion Project initiatives will concentrate in areas where individuals with an OUD may encounter services, including primary care, hospitals, substance use disorder providers, county partners (touchpoints), and criminal justice settings.
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California MAT Expansion

The California DHCS MAT Expansion Project is funded by federal grant programs administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), including the State Targeted Response (STR) to the Opioid Crisis and the State Opioid Response (SOR) programs. California received $90 million in STR funds over two years, May 2017 to April 2019, to support the California MAT Expansion Project 1.0 (SOR 1). Funding for this first phase supported the creation of the California Hub & Spoke System, the Tribal MAT Project, and prevention and treatment activities.
California received an additional $176 million over two years, September 2018 to September 2020, for the California MAT Expansion Project 2.0 (SOR 2). Funding for the project was continued, in the amount of $210 million over two years, September 2020 to September 2022. This funding supports approximately 30 initiatives with the goals of:

  • increasing access to MAT,
  • reducing unmet treatment need, and
  • reducing opioid overdose deaths through prevention, treatment, and recovery services.
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Health Management Associates (HMA)

Health Management Associates (HMA) is a leading independent national healthcare and human services research and consulting firm. The HMA team is more than 230 colleagues strong and growing, with experience that spans the healthcare industry and stretches across the nation. Dedicated to serving vulnerable populations, HMA assists policymakers, providers, health plans, and communities in navigating the ever-changing healthcare environment, with a focus on making publicly funded programs like Medicaid and Medicare operate more effectively.
HMA is currently working with DHCS on four MAT Expansion Initiatives:

  • County Touchpoints in Access to MAT for Justice-Involved Populations;
  • Expanding Access to MAT in County Criminal Justice Settings;
  • Pregnant & Parenting Women (Mother & Baby Substance Exposure Initiative); and
  • Opioid Systems of Care.

The opioid team at Health Management Associates has unique expertise and more than 35 years of experience tackling every part of the substance use disorder system.
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Opioid Epidemic Background

The United States is facing an epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose deaths. Drug overdose is now the leading ause of accidental death in America. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in 2018, approximately 10.3 million people aged 12 or older misused opioids in the past year. In addition, approximately 2.1 million people aged 12 or older had an opioid use disorder (OUD).

SAMHSA awarded State Opioid Response to the Opioid Crisis (SOR) grants to DHCS to address the opioid crisis in California. The SOR grant’s purpose is to improve access to treatment, reduce unmet treatment need, and reduce opioid overdose-related deaths through the provision of OUD prevention, treatment, and recovery activities.

Medications for Addiction Treatment (MAT) is the use of FDA-approved prescription medications, usually in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a whole-person approach to the treatment of substance use disorders (SUD). MAT has proven clinically effective to alleviate symptoms of withdrawal, reduce cravings, and block the brain’s ability to experience the opiate’s effect. MAT maintenance has been proven to cut overdose rates in half and decrease rates of HIV and hepatitis C transmission. Research shows that a combination of MAT and behavioral therapies is a successful method to treat OUD. According to SAMHSA, the ultimate goal of MAT is a full recovery, including the ability to live a self-directed life. This treatment approach has been shown to:

  • Improve patient survival
  • Increase retention in treatment
  • Decrease illicit opioid use and other criminal activity among people with SUD
  • Increase patients’ ability to gain and maintain employment
  • Improve birth outcomes among pregnant women with substance use disorders