What is the Virginia ARTS Program for Addicts?

What is the Virginia ARTS Program for Addicts?

Substance abuse isn’t properly treated with just a quick stay in a hospital or other facility. Recovery is a long-term process that requires help from a team of experts dedicated to helping patients like you recover and live your best life. However, financial barriers make it hard for many patients, especially those with children to care for, to access these essential services.

If you’ve been struggling with opioid, alcohol, or other substance abuse and belong to a low-income household, the Virginia Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services (ARTS) program may be an option for you. It’s easy to use and can help you get your life back on track without going into excessive debt or putting your treatment on hold to save up money for services.

Many low-income families who don’t qualify for other forms of financial assistance can get help specifically for addiction treatment. Even if you don’t qualify for Medicaid, you may qualify for coverage through another Virginia state program.

Program Funding and Services

change and recoveryThe ARTS Program covers the cost of opioid, alcohol, and other substance abuse treatment for certain low-income Virginia residents. Your treatment options covered by ARTS funding may include:

The program is paid for by the state of Virginia and was introduced in 2017 in response to the growing opioid addiction crisis. The ARTS program is well-regarded and nearly 25,000 Medicaid recipients used in its first year of existence.

Some services covered by ARTS require small copays, but even these programs are accessible to most people who need them. ARTS funding also covers treatment for minors, so you can get the help you need for a teen who is struggling with addiction.

Although more Medicaid recipients accessed opioid addiction services than alcohol addiction treatment, both are covered by ARTS. Your primary care doctor or addiction treatment doctor can work with you to make sure your care will be covered by ARTS funding.

Eligible Recipients

To receive ARTS benefits, you must be enrolled in Medicaid, FAMIS, or FAMIS Moms.

To enroll in Medicaid in Virginia, you must have a household income lower than 138% of the federal poverty line.

Your household size influences whether you fall below 138% of the federal poverty line. For example, a single person making $20,000 would be above the 138% threshold, but a family of three living on that salary would fall below the threshold.

If you don’t qualify for Medicaid, you may still qualify for one of the other ARTS-eligible programs. FAMIS is Virginia’s health insurance for children under 19 who live in low-income households. FAMIS Moms is health insurance for low-income pregnant women and women whose pregnancy has ended in the past 60 days.

Since the income limits for FAMIS and FAMIS Moms are higher than those for Medicaid, many addiction patients can receive ARTS coverage through these programs. Even if you’ve been turned away from state assistance programs in the past, you may be newly eligible based on changes to your life circumstances or recent changes to state law.

Which Services are Right for Me?

Your primary care doctor or other medical providers will refer you to services covered by your medical insurance or public aid. Medicaid does not cover inpatient rehabilitation until outpatient methods have at least been attempted.

Outpatient services can be fully covered by ARTS funding and allow patients to maintain their employment and everyday lives. Outpatient treatment takes up to 15 hours per week and varies by the recovery stage. During outpatient treatment, patients live at home and stay in contact with members of their support networks, including family and friends.

Your outpatient services may include medication-assisted treatment, especially if you are treating opioid addiction. Buprenorphine/suboxone treatment is common for opioid addiction, but any type of substance addiction treatment may leverage antidepressants or other medications to manage withdrawal symptoms or underlying health conditions.

Therapy is also covered by ARTS, and your outpatient services may provide individual or group therapy depending on your needs. This ongoing treatment helps you connect with your peers and maintain long-term sobriety.

Getting More Information

addiction treatmentThe state of Virginia operates helplines to connect patients with services covered by Medicaid and ARTS. Alternatively, you can find a local provider on your own or ask your primary care doctor for a referral. Not all outpatient treatment centers accept Medicaid, so verify the payment options before you sign up for services at a treatment center.

Once you’ve chosen a provider, let them know you will use Medicaid, FAMIS, or FAMIS Moms to pay for your treatment. They can tell you which services can be covered by these insurance plans and ARTS.

After that, your insurance claims will usually be processed after each visit without any additional action from you. On occasion, you may need to provide additional paperwork to Virginia’s Medicaid offices to prove that you are still eligible. This is infrequent and will not interrupt your outpatient services as long as you watch for letters or other communications regarding your insurance and take prompt action.

Moving Forward

No matter what your history of addiction looks like, you can get a fresh start by taking the first steps toward recovery. Outpatient addiction treatment works with your schedule to get you the help you need without disrupting your life. You can continue to lean on friends and family as you find your way through recovery.

Thanks to the Virginia ARTS program, you can push financial obstacles out of the way and get treatment without accruing debt. Check your eligibility and sign up for Medicaid, FAMIS, or FAMIS Moms as soon as possible to get started on your new path. Right Path Addiction Centers can help you work through the rest and begin your journey to lifelong recovery.


Written by Sergey Zhitar, MD Medical Director

Native of Moldova, Dr. Zhitar is Board Certified in Addiction Medicine as well as Internal Medicine and completed his training at UPMC Shadyside, Pittsburgh, PA in 2000.

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