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CMS Adds Support for Babies, Moms Impacted by Substance and Opioid Use Disorders

July 29, 2019

New guidance was announced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) adding coverage and support for babies, pregnant women, and mothers impacted by substance use disorders (SUD) and opioid use disorder (OUD).

The two new informational bulletins, “Caring Recovery for Infants and Babies (CRIB)” and “Help for Moms and Babies (HMB)” act as provisions in the national fight against the opioid crisis under Substance-Use Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act (SUPPORT Act).

According to the press release from CMS, “The CRIB and HMB provisions of the SUPPORT Act add to existing efforts that work to address treatment for pregnant and postpartum women with SUD, including OUD, and for infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), such as CMS’s Integrated Care for Kids (InCK) and Maternal Opioid Misuse (MOM) Models.”

Under the SUPPORT Act and the new CRIB bulletin, state Medicaid programs will be able to pay for services from residential pediatric recovery centers for treatment of NAS. These centers can provide mothers and caregivers with appropriate counseling, service referrals, and infant-care and bonding training.

Per the press release, CMS released a similar bulletin last year, “‘Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome: A Critical Role for Medicaid in the Care of Infants’ to provide states with information about current studies on treatment and other considerations when designing approaches to treatment of infants with NAS, including Medicaid coverage options and limitations.”

The HMB bulletin provides an exception to the Institution for Mental Disease (IMD) exclusions for pregnant and postpartum women—specifically noting that states may receive federal matching funds for care provided outside of an IMD, like prenatal services—ensuring safe deliveries.

“The opioid epidemic has affected the entire country, but the impact on babies is one of the most tragic consequences of this public health crisis,” said CMS Principal Deputy Administrator for Operations and Policy Kimberly Brandt in a press release. “Our comprehensive efforts to combat the opioid epidemic include a laser focus on the needs of vulnerable populations, and today’s Bulletins build on our previous efforts to support moms and children struggling with the impact of opioid use disorder.”

Edan Stanley

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. CMS Announces New Support for Babies, Pregnant Women, and Mothers Affected by Substance and Opioid Use Disorders [press release]. Accessed July 29, 2019.

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