Senator Cites Mississippi’s TeleMAT System at Appropriations Hearing Focused on State, Local Work to Fight Opioid Epidemic

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today sought input on how to expand access to opioid treatment and recovery services in rural states like Mississippi.
Hyde-Smith serves on the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor-HHS) Appropriations Subcommittee, which today conducted a hearing titled, “Addressing the Opioid Epidemic in America:  Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery at the State and Local Level.”
“Mississippi is a rural state and a great place to live, but being rural also makes it a challenge to reach those in the grip of opioid addiction,” Hyde-Smith said.  “Like many other states, Mississippi is making progress in tapping federal resources to help address the crisis, but patients still face limited local access to addiction treatment services, especially in rural areas.”
Hyde-Smith last year cosponsored and helped author the e-TREAT Act, which was incorporated into the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018.  As part of that new law, e-TREAT expanded the use of telehealth services for opioid use disorder treatment, which benefits the TeleMAT program in Mississippi.
TeleMAT is a telehealth project launched by the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) in conjunction with the Mississippi Department of Mental Health and supported through appropriated grant funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  It is used to reach and provide patients with moderate to severe addiction in rural areas with patient education and medication-assisted treatment.
“I hope the TeleMAT program, with its focus on in-person visits in Jackson and follow-up telehealth visits at regional mental health clinics across the state, will help us break the opioid epidemic in Mississippi,” Hyde-Smith said.
Today’s oversight hearing was held in advance of the release of the President’s FY2020 budget request, which will outline the administration’s ongoing work to help states fight opioid addiction.
As a member of the Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee, Hyde-Smith supported the record funding for opioid abuse prevention and treatment provided in the FY2019 appropriations bill and will play a key role in crafting the FY2020 bill.