North Dakota adds funding for addiction treatment programs in underserved areas

But the vast majority of those who have received short-term inpatient treatment live in or near an urban center, likely because the program is difficult to access for those in remote rural areas.

Now $ 5 million in grants is available to help build up to four treatment centers in underserved rural areas.

“We have seen very few people in remote areas, especially in the west, access the addictions program,” said Pamela Sagness, director of behavioral health for the North Dakota Department of Human Services.

The grants, which are awarded by the North Dakota Department of Human Services, are provided through funding provided by the North Dakota Legislature. Legislators originally earmarked $ 2 million for the program, which was increased to $ 5 million during the latest special session.

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“By funding this program, we are providing treatment options across the state,” said Rep. Jon Nelson, R-Rugby, chairman of the interim committee. “With the possibility of family engagement, we increase the chances of success.”

Community-based programs are critical to treating addiction, Sagness said.

“The goal is that when we get services close to where they live, people can involve family members in treatment,” which increases the chances of treatment being successful, she said.

“Individuals who have access to treatment in their community can keep in touch with their natural supports such as family, which is important for long-term recovery,” said Sagness.

North Dakota has worked to fill behavioral service gaps that are often lacking in rural areas, particularly western North Dakota.

By providing funding for five years, the state is trying to set up new treatment programs and be self-sustaining, Sagness said.

In addition, only treatment programs with 16 or fewer beds are eligible. That’s because Medicaid funding is limited to centers with up to 16 beds.

“So there is sustainability built in,” said Sagness.

A counselor is working with an interim legislative committee investigating acute psychiatric treatment needs in North Dakota. That analysis will include an examination of the number of inpatient and inpatient treatment beds needed, she said.

Kurt Snyder, Executive Director of the Heartview Foundation, based in Bismarck, wants to apply for a grant to set up 16 treatment beds in Dickinson, possibly in the former St. Joseph’s Hospital, now St. Joe’s Plaza. Heartview has 16 beds in Bismarck, but treats around 400 patients at the same time.

Funding for the program, which is a payer of last resort, was abruptly tight last summer, and the program could not accept new customers until more money was added.

Since then, funding has doubled to $ 15.3 million and appears to be commensurate with demand so far over that biennium, Sagness said.

Many of those cared for by the government substance use disorder voucher program are unemployed and some are homeless.

“Addiction destroys lives and creates societal challenges,” said Senator Dick Dever, R-Bismarck, vice chairman of the interim committee. “This addiction funding will restore hope to North Dakotans, including those in unserved and underserved areas of our state.”

Interested parties can find out more about this funding option in the call for applications on Thursday, December 2nd. The application deadline is January 7, 2022, 12 noon.

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