Greg interviews Andrew Joseph, a journalist at The Boston Globe affiliated STAT. STAT focuses on finding and telling compelling stories about health, medicine, and scientific discovery. As a general assignment reporter, Andrew has covered a multitude of topics ranging from crime to health policy – including the recent repeal of the ACA and its impact on the opioid epidemic.

Greg asks Andrew about one of his recent articles on Virginia’s expanded treatment options for addiction.  More specifically, how Virginia got around the financial disincentive for providers to serve Medicaid clients. Andrew explains that Virginia obtained a waiver from the federal government to supply additional funding to non-traditional Medicaid programs and boosted their reimbursement rates.  To do this, the state had to make some changes in their current program and demonstrate their commitment to treatment. “Before getting the waiver, the Virginia legislature and governor took it upon themselves to make some changes in their program to try to show the federal government that they were serious,” Andrew shares.  “So what they did was… as part of a budget, they passed a program that basically set up a continuum of care… all the way from in-patient detox, to outpatient detox, to medication assisted treatment, to counseling, to recovery homes.”

Listen to the podcast to discover if these federal waivers are a viable option in other states and how the potential repeal of the ACA may disrupt both Virginia’s expanded treatment program as well as many others across the U.S.