DHCS Announces New Funding to Help Expand Medication Assisted Treatment For Opioid Use Disorders

Awards will help counties, jails, and drug courts and Tribal programs offer resources and effective treatment to those in need

SACRAMENTO – The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) recently awarded nearly $2.4 million to 29 counties as part of the Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) in Jails and Drug Courts Project, part of its continued efforts to address the opioid crisis. Grants and stipends are being provided to counties to support the development or expansion of access to MAT for opioid use disorders (OUD) in jails and drug court systems.

“DHCS is committed to ensuring that justice-impacted individuals, those residing in DHCS-licensed facilities, and Native groups receive evidence-based MAT. These projects will assist county jails and drug courts, substance use disorder facilities, and Tribal and Indian health programs with applying promising practices to engage individuals with an OUD and provide MAT,” said DHCS Director Michelle Baass.

Added State Medicaid Director Jacey Cooper: “Through these efforts, our state and county partners will be better positioned to support the delivery of MAT during the pre-release period and improve care coordination so that individuals can continue MAT care and receive the services they need as they re-enter the community.”

The MAT in Jails and Drug Courts Project will continue California’s efforts to expand access to MAT for OUD in jails and support implementation of the newly approved California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) justice-involved initiative, which will offer a targeted set of Medicaid services, including MAT, to youth and adults in state prisons, county jails, and youth correctional facilities for up to 90 days prior to release. The funding opportunity will serve as a key resource to support correctional facilities to offer MAT and facilitate warm hand-offs and linkages to community-based MAT providers.

DHCS also released a funding opportunity to improve and expand access to MAT for individuals with an OUD in nonprofit DHCS-licensed residential substance use disorder (SUD) facilities. Additionally, DHCS is making funds available to California Tribal and urban Indian health programs to implement the Native MAT Network for Healing and Recovery Program.

Why This Matters

The primary goal of all DHCS opioid-related projects is to ensure equity and inclusion for all populations while reducing opioid-related overdose deaths and increasing access to MAT, as well as easing unmet harm reduction, focusing on prevention, and meeting treatment and recovery service needs.

MAT in Jails and Drug Courts

This project brings together county teams in a learning collaborative to improve coordination among county agencies and providers who serve justice-impacted county residents and to develop bridges to further build system capacity to ensure access to effective treatment and recovery supports. Grant funds and participation stipends were made available through this project to all California counties interested in developing or expanding access to MAT for OUD in their jails and drug court systems.

MAT in Jails and Drug Courts is part of the California MAT Expansion Project, which aims to increase access to MAT, reduce unmet treatment need, and reduce opioid overdose-related deaths by investing in OUD and SUD services. It currently supports 30 projects in California, including a focus on increasing services for vulnerable and underserved populations who are more at risk of developing an OUD and/or SUD. Counties participating in the project will receive technical assistance through individualized monthly coaching, topic-specific webinars, and quarterly learning collaboratives.

This project builds upon the previous Expanding Access to MAT in County Justice Settings and County Touchpoints for Access to MAT for Justice-Impacted Individuals and complements the Systems of Care project, all funded through federal State Opioid Response (SOR) I and II grants. From 2018 to 2022, 39 counties participated in these projects, representing 67 percent of California’s counties and 83 percent of the state population.

More information on these previous projects, as well as a list of counties participating in the MAT in Jails and Drug Courts project, can be found on the Addiction Free CA webpage. Funding will continue through June 2025.

Native MAT Network for Healing and Recovery

On February 6, DHCS released a funding opportunity to implement the California Native MAT Network for Healing and Recovery Program from May 1, 2023, through May 31, 2024. California Tribal and urban Indian health programs may apply to receive up to $150,000 to develop, implement, sustain, and enhance MAT services for opioid addiction and receive technical assistance and peer knowledge.

DHCS is increasing culturally competent OUD treatment services in California Tribal and urban Indian communities. Funding is intended for these groups that reflect the racial, ethnic, and cultural community they intend to serve, and that can develop culturally responsive services that are tailored and individualized to the population of focus.

“When the community sees that the local MAT program incorporates the importance of culture and consistently integrates Native context into the service approach, they may be more likely to reach out for help,” said Marlies Perez, Chief of DHCS’ Community Services Division.

MAT in Residential Treatment Facilities

The primary objective of this funding opportunity is to improve and expand access to MAT for individuals with an OUD in DHCS-licensed residential SUD facilities. This will be done by supporting costs associated with recruitment, mentorship, training, and other activities to increase provider knowledge and comfort with providing MAT through a collaborative learning opportunity for facilities to implement best practices.

Senate Bill 992 (Chapter 784, Statutes of 2018) and Senate Bill 184 (Chapter 47, Statutes of 2022) require all DHCS-licensed SUD facilities to either offer onsite MAT or have an effective referral process in place. For DHCS-licensed SUD facilities to offer MAT services, they must receive approval to provide incidental medical services (IMS). Despite having IMS approval, many DHCS-licensed SUD facilities do not offer onsite MAT.

Funding opportunities will be available to incorporate MAT into facilities not already providing MAT, expand MAT services in facilities that already provide MAT, and create MAT “Centers of Excellence” to provide mentorship and technical assistance to other facilities and projects funded through this opportunity. This project is funded by the state General Fund and is also part of the California MAT Expansion Project.

For more information on efforts to expand MAT, visit the California MAT Expansion Project Overview.

ABOUT MAT: MAT is the use of medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, which is effective in the treatment of OUDs, and can help some people to sustain recovery.

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND: Since coming into office, Governor Gavin Newsom has dedicated more than $1 billion in funding to fight the opioid crisis by removing opioids from the streets, providing resources to California communities in need, and increasing education and awareness to prevent harm in the first place.

In fiscal year 2022-23, DHCS is investing more than $558 million in various opioid prevention and treatment grant activities. Today’s grant announcements are just two of several efforts made by DHCS in recent months to tackle SUDs/OUDs, including: