On April 22, 2014, CBAM’s Medical Director, Keith Heinzerling, MD, led a presentation entitled “The Affordable Care Act and the Future of Addiction Medicine in Primary Care” as part of the weekly Addiction Seminar hosted by the UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences. In this presentation, he discussed the effects of the ACA on the treatment of addiction including an increase in the number of people with insurance.

Furthermore, the ACA has brought us to full parity, requiring that all insurance plans cover mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment. Private insurance plans must provide these services to be certified and offered via the Health Insurance Marketplace. In addition, states expanding their Medicaid programs must provide these in Medicaid.

These changes have made it more affordable for primary care clinics to provide addiction treatment. CBAM has been providing addiction services and training others in primary care on how to do this. We have found that the keys to success include identifying “champions” both among clinic providers and management staff who will spearhead efforts, identifying an accessible expert consultant who can provide guidance until in-house expertise is developed, and integrating behavioral health and case management into the care team.

We are encouraged by the efforts we are seeing across the country to better recognize and treat substance use and abuse and are working to answer the many questions still outstanding, such as:

-How do we best implement screening and office-based treatment into primary care?
-How can technology increase treatment capacity?
-Is there a “pre-addiction” stage that can be identified in order to prevent the disease, and are there additional/better medical treatment options that can help our patients?

To see the recorded presentation, click on the link below. A password is required for access. For the password, email kheinzerling@mednet.ucla.edu and write “Request for Seminar Password” in the subject line. https://uclahs.webex.com/uclahs/ldr.php?RCID=c5c8983e55088c82663c3a05acf47df6


CBAM is a multidisciplinary center that seeks to advance the prevention and treatment of chronic illnesses, especially in communities with health disparities. As part of the UCLA Department of Family Medicine, CBAM works at the intersection of academia and community with a focus on treating addictions and preventing the spread of HIV.

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