WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) today issued the following statement after the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) announced it received approval from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to offer Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) treatment services:
“The opioid epidemic is a crisis that doesn’t discriminate, and it is destroying families, communities, and lives across the country. Some of the most tragic examples of the drug epidemic’s devastating consequences are the babies who are exposed to opioids before they’re even born. No state has felt the effects of this epidemic like West Virginia has, and I am so happy that our state is now able to provide NAS services through the Medicaid program. I also am hopeful this development will help more families access critical treatment services for infants suffering from the symptoms of withdrawal.
“Over the years, I’ve worked to provide these infants the help they need, to shed light on critical treatment services like those in use at Lily’s Place in Huntington, and to provide other children access to these services. I will continue fighting for the opioid epidemic’s youngest victims and for all others affected by this national crisis.”
BACKGROUND: In October, Senator Capito and U.S. Representative Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.) announced the release of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study on NAS. The study, “Federal Action Needed to Address Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome,” is the first federal study of its kind to examine best practices and approaches to treating newborns exposed to opioids during pregnancy. Senator Capito and Representative Jenkins helped require the study through the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which was signed into law by the president.
Senator Capito and Representative Jenkins have worked together on other legislation to address the opioid crisis and help NAS newborns. Last year, Senator Capito reintroduced the Caring Recovery for Infants and Babies (CRIB) Act, which Representative Jenkins introduced in the House. The bipartisan legislation would help newborns suffering from addiction recover in the best setting and provide support to their families. The bill would recognize residential pediatric recovery facilities as providers under Medicaid, allowing Medicaid to cover these services in residential pediatric recovery facilities in addition to hospitals.
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