Ohio's plan to distribute federal money for addiction services over 18 months instead of a year is being seen in some communities as hampering treatment efforts during a crisis period in the state.
The state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services' plan is intended to assist local treatment agencies with cash flow problems that often create short-term issues such as a struggle to meet payroll. But at a time when opioid addiction and overdose are soaring, some officials would like to see a delay in the plan's implementation.
"People understand why families need support and treatment now more than ever," said Elaine Georgas, executive director of the Lorain County Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board. "With this reduction, we're going to have to tell them again services aren't available unless you're Medicaid-eligible."
State substance abuse agency director Tracy Plouck said that while the change will cause some short-term challenges for federal funding recipients, it is necessary to eliminate a longstanding problem. The still-to-be-introduced state budget could help fill some of the gap that local agencies might experience.