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Keywords:

  • Medicaid;
  • access/demand/utilization of services;
  • state health policies;
  • substance abuse;
  • alcohol/chemical dependency/tobacco

Objective. To examine factors associated with Medicaid acceptance for substance abuse (SA) services by outpatient SA treatment programs.

Data Sources. Secondary analysis of 2003–2006 National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services data combined with state Medicaid policy and usage measures and other publicly available data.

Study Design. We used cross-sectional analyses, including state fixed effects, to assess relationships between SA treatment program Medicaid acceptance and (1) program-level factors, (2) county-level sociodemographics and treatment program density, and (3) state-level population characteristics, SA treatment-related factors, and Medicaid policy and usage.

Data Extraction Methods. State Medicaid policy data were compiled based on reviews of state Medicaid-related statutes/regulations and Medicaid plans. Other data were publicly available.

Principal Findings. Medicaid acceptance was significantly higher for programs: (a) that were publicly funded and in states with Medicaid policy allowing SA treatment coverage; (b) with accreditation/licensure and nonprofit/government ownership, as well as mental- and general-health focused programs; and (c) in counties with lower household income.

Conclusions. SA treatment program Medicaid acceptance related to program-, county, and state-level factors. The data suggest the importance of state policy and licensure/accreditation requirements in increasing SA program Medicaid access.