Association of Medicaid expansion and 1115 waivers for substance use disorders with hospital provision of opioid use disorder services: a cross sectional study

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Introduction: Opioid-related hospitalizations have risen dramatically, placing hospitals at the frontlines of the opioid epidemic. Medicaid expansion and 1115 waivers for substance use disorders (SUDs) are two key policies aimed at expanding access to care, including opioid use disorder (OUD) services. Yet, little is known about the relationship between these policies and the availability of hospital based OUD programs. The aim of this study is to determine whether state Medicaid expansion and adoption of 1115 waivers for SUDs are associated with hospital provision of OUD programs. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of a random sample of hospitals (n = 457) from the American Hospital Association’s 2015 American Hospital Directory, compiled with the most recent publicly available community health needs assessment (2015–2018). Results: Controlling for hospital characteristics, overdose burden, and socio-demographic characteristics, both Medicaid policies were associated with hospital adoption of several OUD programs. Hospitals in Medicaid expansion states had significantly higher odds of implementing any program related to SUDs (OR: 1.740; 95% CI: 1.032–2.934) as well as some specific activities such as programs for OUD treatment (OR: 1.955; 95% CI: 1.245–3.070) and efforts to address social determinants of health (OR: 6.787; 95% CI: 1.308–35.20). State 1115 waivers for SUDs were not significantly associated with any hospital-based SUD activities. Conclusions: Medicaid expansion was associated with several hospital programs for addressing OUD. The differential availability of hospital-based OUD programs may indicate an added layer of disadvantage for low-income patients with SUD living in non-expansion states.