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Hospitals to provide $50m in treatment funding.

New Hampshire's hospitals have agreed to spend $50 million over the next five years to fund the programs that combat the state's ongoing opioid crisis.

At an April 10 announcement, Gov. Chris Sununu said the agreement helps address a long-running debate over how the state would fund drug treatment and prevention programs. Until now, funding for the programs came from a share of the profits from liquor sales. But the state wants to use that money to help fund Medicaid costs as federal funding decreases, which some feared could put treatment funding at risk.

Opioids, including prescription opioids, heroin and synthetic drugs such as fentanyl, killed more than 42,000 people in the U.S. in 2016, more than any other year on record, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New Hampshire has been among the hardest hit states, ranking third in the nation in drug overdoses per capita.

"We serve some of the most financially and medically challenged populations in the state. We see it all," said Dr. Joseph Pepe, CEO of Catholic Medical Center, who was also at the announcement. "We understand how essential it is to invest in programs to address substance use disorder" ... No one hospital, no one treatment or recovering organization, no one legislative effort can end the opioid crisis. But by working together like we are today, we can make a life-saving difference."

All of the state's 26 acute care hospitals will supply the funding, spread over the next five years, to ensure that the Alcohol Abuse Prevention and Treatment Fund is fully supported.

The deal should also bolster efforts to expand New Hampshire's Medicaid program, which has won initial approval in the House.

Sununu said he is also hopeful the new funding could complement forthcoming federal monies to help finance everything from prevention programs in schools to rural treatment programs to a new initiative helping recovering substance abusers get jobs. In the $1.3 trillion federal budget appropriation, $142 million will be set aside for the states like New Hampshire.

The governor called the $50 million investment the single biggest secured financial investment the state has ever achieved in funding substance use disorder programs.

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Title Annotation:HEALTH CARE
Publication:New Hampshire Business Review
Geographic Code:1U1NH
Date:Apr 27, 2018
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