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The number of people in Maryland who are receiving substance abuse treatment through Medicaid has more than doubled in less than three years.

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reported this week that 38,697 residents are expected to receive treatment for alcohol and drug abuse this year through Medicaid, a 115 percent jump from 2009.

The increase results from state legislation, passed in 2009, that authorized an annual transfer of funds from Maryland’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration’s (ADAA) grant program to Medicaid, to allow residents to use Medicaid to pay for outpatient substance abuse treatment.

Last year, the state Health Department also raised reimbursement rates to Medicaid providers, and made other changes that contributed to the increase, including allowing patients to go for treatment without a referral, the Washington Examiner reports.

In a news release, the Health Department said it is projected that in 2012, Medicaid and ADAA will provide a combined total of $142.8 million in substance abuse treatment funding.

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