New Vermont law expands Medicaid to licensed drug, alcohol abuse counselors

June 10, 2015

Starting in October, licensed counselors in Vermont may accept Medicaid payments even if their clients do not have mental health disorders. The state law is likely to expand access to treatment. Vermont's Department of Health uses a list of preferred providers for addiction treatment who are eligible for Medicaid reimbursement. Independent counselors outside that network cannot receive Medicaid payments unless their client is diagnosed with a mental illness as well as substance abuse. That can be a barrier to care for some people without that dual diagnosis. It will also become easier for people to find help close to home from an individual counselor, rather than the larger groups in the state's network. The licensing of addiction counselors will move from the Department of Health to the Office of Professional Regulation. The aim is to set a standard baseline for entry into the drug and alcohol counseling profession.