HHS on Tuesday awarded $20.3 million to several addiction medicine and addiction psychiatry groups to fund new fellowship programs and invest in the workforce.
The Health Resources and Services Administration selected 44 recipients, which will help increase the number of trained addiction specialists and increase integrated behavioral and primary care services in their communities.
"The need for physicians with the expertise and skills to provide substance use prevention, treatment and recovery services is essential," said HRSA Administrator Tom Engels. "Addiction specialists can respond to patients' specific behavioral health needs and help communities that are hit hardest by the opioid epidemic."
Last month HHS' Office of the Inspector General said CMS could do more to help Medicare beneficiaries access opioid addiction treatment, after finding less than 10% of at-risk patients received medication-assisted treatment. HHS OIG identified more than 71,000 Medicare Part D beneficiaries of being at serious risk for misusing or overdosing from opioids in 2017.
Approximately 80% of those beneficiaries received "extreme amounts" of opioids that year, according to the report.