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NH DHHS Seeks CMS Waiver to Expand Substance Use Treatment Capacity for Youths and Adults
Department Announces 30-Day Public Comment Period for Public Input
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Office of Medicaid Services
Publish Date:
February 28, 2018

Concord, NH – Further establishing a Statewide, comprehensive response to the opioid epidemic, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will expand access to residential treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) services through a federal waiver. If the waiver is approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), more behavioral health facilities that provide residential and inpatient hospital SUD treatment services to Medicaid beneficiaries would be eligible for reimbursement.

“The opioid epidemic may be the most significant public health crisis in the history of our State. The ability to provide treatment services in these institutions is essential for a comprehensive and lasting response to the epidemic,” said DHHS Commissioner Jeffrey A. Meyers. “With some of the highest rates of youth alcohol and drug use, it is particularly important that New Hampshire expand both the outpatient and residential capacity for residents under 18 years of age.”

While the State has spent more than $30 million in the past two years to expand access to SUD treatment and recovery services, New Hampshire lacks adequate capacity for SUD treatment beds. DHHS is requesting CMS to grant a waiver allowing the State to receive federal funds for adults and adolescents who are Medicaid-eligible and receive residential SUD treatment in an Institution for Mental Disease (IMD) for as long as is medically necessary.

The capacity challenges in the entire SUD treatment system are even more evident for those under 18 years old. In 2016, the NH Legislature passed HB517, which required the State to redevelop excess capacity at the existing Sununu Youth Services Center (SYSC) to allow for expansion to a 36-bed residential SUD treatment facility available for adolescents in New Hampshire. The program at SYSC was intentionally designed as a Comprehensive SUD Program, to be in alignment with the existing SUD service delivery system in NH. The initial sixteen beds for the program will be available upon opening in July 2018, with the remaining 20 beds opening within a brief time following the Federal waiver approval.

Prior to submitting the waiver request to CMS, DHHS is seeking comment from the public. The 30 day public comment period is from Tuesday, February 27, 2018 until Friday, March 30, 2018. All comments must be received by 12:00 pm Eastern on March 30. DHHS will host two public hearings during the public comment period: Tuesday, March 6, 2018, at 6:00 pm in Manchester, and Tuesday, March 13, at 1:00 pm in Nashua.

For more information about the waiver application, submitting public comment or attending a public hearing, please visit

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