Ward’s Bill to Audit Methadone Treatment Costs Approved by Committee

Harrisburg – Legislation sponsored by Sen. Kim Ward (R-39) authorizing a performance audit of the state’s methadone treatment and medical assistance transportation programs was approved by the Senate Public Health and Welfare committee today.

Senate Resolution 348 directs the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to report on methadone treatment and transportation costs as well as average length of methadone maintenance. The measure was approved unanimously.

“Taxpayers spend more than $40 million in medical assistance costs for methadone treatment, in addition to covering the high cost of transporting individuals to methadone clinics,” said Ward.  “In areas such as the one I represent, the cost can be up to $1,600 per week for just one person. This audit is the first step in evaluating and reining in those costs.”

“This audit will tell taxpayers the annual cost to the Commonwealth for methadone treatments and the length of treatment for each of these individuals, specifically to determine if there is a narcotic treatment plan for each individual’s recovery rather than methadone maintenance,” said Ward. “It will also give us the annual current cost of the Medical Assistance Transportation Program and the savings to the Commonwealth that would result if individuals would be required to receive treatment at the facility closest to their residence.”

The state Medical Assistance Transportation Program provides transportation to individuals who are receiving methadone treatments by either reimbursing those with private vehicles at a rate of 25 cents per mile or by providing rides in vans and taxis with little accountability regarding the most cost-effective mode of transportation to the clinic.

Contact:  Rob Ritson
(717) 787-6063