By Jon King /

Services to assist with the ongoing opioid epidemic have been extended to Livingston County.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced Tuesday that it has expanded the Opioid Health Home (OHH) initiative to nine additional counties in Michigan to provide intensive care management and care coordination services for Medicaid beneficiaries with an opioid use disorder (OUD).

According to a press release from the state health department, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently approved Michigan’s State Plan Amendment (SPA) to expand its Opioid Health Home initiative into PIHP Regions 6, 7 and 10. Livingston County is included in Region 6 along with Lenawee, Monroe and Washtenaw counties.

The expansion is expected to allow thousands of Medicaid beneficiaries meeting the eligibility criteria to receive services. Individuals who meet the criteria will be provided an opportunity to work with a team of providers who will attend to a beneficiary’s complete health and social needs. Participation is voluntary and enrolled beneficiaries may opt out at any time.

“The expansion of Opioid Health Home program will help address the complexity of physical and behavioral health conditions in Michigan and improve access to essential services,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “For enrolled beneficiaries, the Health Home will function as the central point of contact for directing patient-centered care across the broader health care system.”

Officials say that half of the Medicaid beneficiaries in Michigan have an untreated mental illness and more than two-thirds have an untreated substance use disorder. Health Homes are described as a proven model to increase access to coordinated and integrated care, which officials say is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic.