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News Release

For Immediate Release
July 11, 2018

Governor Sununu Press Office
(603) 271-2121

CMS Grants New Hampshire Waiver to Expand Substance Use Treatment Capacity

Concord, NH – Today, Governor Chris Sununu, CMS Administrator Seema Verma, and DHHS Commissioner Jeff Meyers released the following statements after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved New Hampshire's waiver request to expand access to substance use disorder (SUD) treatment. Under the waiver, the New Hampshire Medicaid program will reimburse mental health facilities for inpatient and residential SUD services provided to Medicaid beneficiaries.

"Over the past 18 months, we have made significant investments into our state's SUD treatment and recovery programs, and prioritized access to treatment beds for adolescents," said Governor Chris Sununu. "Now, more than ever, it is important for us to continue to expand access to these vital services especially for adults and adolescents who are Medicaid-eligible and the CMS waiver will allow us to do exactly that."

The CMS waiver will allow the State to receive federal funds for adults and adolescents who are Medicaid-eligible and receive residential SUD treatment in an Institution for Mental Disease (IMD) for as long as is medically necessary. Even with more than $30 million spent in the past two years to expand access to SUD treatment and recovery services, New Hampshire still lacks adequate capacity for SUD treatment beds. Given the rates of youth alcohol and drug use, the waiver will be particularly important for expanding outpatient and residential capacity for residents under 18.

"I commend Governor Sununu and his team for designing a comprehensive strategy to combat substance abuse and improve the health and well-being of their Medicaid beneficiaries," said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. "New Hampshire is the 10th state in the last nine months to gain federal approval for this important tool in the fight against the opioid crisis."

"We are grateful to CMS for their approval of our waiver request. In the midst of a public health crisis, this is a significant development for New Hampshire's ability to increase the capacity of SUD treatment beds," DHHS Commissioner Jeffrey A. Meyers said. "Healthcare facilities that provide residential mental health services will now be able to treat people struggling with substance misuse, which will greatly expand the State's comprehensive and sustainable response to the epidemic."

Background: In 2016, the NH Legislature passed HB517, which will allow the Sununu Youth Services Center (SYSC) to open a 36-bed residential SUD treatment facility available for adolescents in New Hampshire, which is expected to open in late summer or early fall 2018.

Note: For more information about the SUD IMD waiver, please visit

Office of Governor Christopher Sununu
State House  |  107 North Main Street  |  Concord, NH 03301
(603) 271-2121  |  fax: (603) 271-7680