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Cuyahoga ADAMHS Board CEO says Medicaid cuts will hurt local drug treatment

Cuyahoga County ADAMHS Board CEO William Denihan
Cuyahoga County ADAMHS Board CEO William Denihan

The long-time head of Cuyahoga County’s drug addiction and mental health board will retire on August 1. As ideastream’s Marlene Harris-Taylor reports, he leaves his post with concerns about proposed cuts to Medicaid in the health care bill being debated on Capitol Hill.

ADAMHS Board CEO William Denihan says if lawmakers cut Medicaid, it will hurt local treatment agencies -- already stretched to capacity -- fighting the opioid crisis.  Medicaid money comes from Washington and Columbus.  In 2016, the state allocated about $1 billion dollars for drug treatment and about $650 million of that came from federal Medicaid insurance payments.

“What we cover is people that don’t have insurance, so if we have to all of the sudden be concerned about those that were on Medicaid through the affordable care act that’s gonna be a financial dilimma. A lot of people are not gonna get served and a lot of people will die,"  Denihan said.

Local treatment facilities may also need to lay off staff t if Medicaid dollars are curtailed, he added. 

 Denihan has been in charge of Cuyahoga County’s addiction and mental health services for 15 years. He will returen

Marlene Harris-Taylor
Marlene is the director of engaged journalism at Ideastream Public Media.