California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Substance Misuse Treatment Likely To Be Transformed by ACA

Changes under the Affordable Care Act are expected to transform substance misuse treatment in California and other states, HealthyCal reports.

Addiction Treatment in Calif.

According to Richard Rawson -- a professor of psychiatry and associate director of the UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs -- drug treatment in California was developed independently of medical care.

"It's this weird mix of self-help, criminal justice, social work and a non-profit peer mentor collection of activities, none of which had anything to do with health care," Rawson said.

ACA Changes

Under the ACA, health insurers must provide coverage for drug and alcohol misuse treatment programs.

In addition, the law requires such programs to use electronic health records and meet stricter standards, according to HealthyCal.

ACA's Effect on Treatment

Albert Senella -- director of the addiction treatment program at Tarzana Treatment Center in Southern California and president of the California Association of Alcohol and Drug Program Executives -- said the drug treatment industry already is changing in preparation for the ACA.

"There have been a number of mergers already because of the recognition that [treatment programs are] not large enough to get these things done," Senella said.

Rawson and other observers say that substance misuse treatment programs that resist changes under the ACA likely will not survive (Urevich, HealthyCal, 9/10).

This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.