Senator Warren Releases Findings from Workforce Survey

This month, Senator Elizabeth Warren released a report titled Fighting Back: Massachusetts Health Care Providers and the Opioid Crisis.

Of the 80 surveys that were sent out, 51 provider organizations and facilities responded. The report discusses the overal opioid crisis in Massachusetts, including overdose death data, and gives a brief overview of the State's treatment system.

The major findings are that:

  • Massachusetts facilities that offer behavioral health services deliver affordable, high-quality care made possible by high rates of insurance coverage and access to treatment.
  • Massachusetts addiction treatment centers continue to face challenges in providing care, including long waiting lists, offering adequate referral services, hiring and retaining staff, and parity in behavioral health coverage.
  • Many Massachusetts facilities rely on federal financial support to carry out their critical work. 

In discussing the finding that recruitment and retention of quality staff is a major challenge, the report cites 2010 data from SAMHSA: "For every 1,000 people in Massachusetts suffering from SUD, there were fewer than 50 psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, and social workers available to provide care. Each year, about 1 in 4 addiction treatment clinicians leave their job – and often the field – citing exhaustion and low pay."

The report concludes: "Addressing this public health crisis in Massachusetts and across the country will require significant, sustained investment to equip health care providers and communities with the resources they need. Improved reimbursement policies and substantial, reliable federal funding streams are required to reverse behavioral health workforce shortages, expand services, and get care to patients as quickly as possible so they can maintain long-term treatment goals and reach full recovery."

Access the full report here.

Read the article in the Boston Globe.