CONCORD — In the midst of the ongoing addiction crisis, New Hampshire’s substance use disorder providers have suffered significant financial losses since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report released this week by New Futures, a Granite State’s health policy and advocacy organization. The report, which includes the results of a survey of New Hampshire’s substance use treatment and recovery organizations, shows that more than 80 percent of responding providers have experienced significant financial hardship due to COVID-19, with average billing losses of more than $21,000 since January.
“While significant progress has been made against the addiction epidemic, New Hampshire’s continued success depends on the long-term stability and financial solvency of substance use disorder treatment providers,” said New Futures’ President and CEO, Michele Merritt. “This report highlights the devastating impact of COVID-19 on critical providers, who are hemorrhaging funds at a time when their services are so desperately needed.”
The report, developed in conjunction with Helms & Company, a healthcare consulting firm, surveyed 23 substance use treatment and recovery providers across the state. The survey included a range of questions regarding organizational budgets, billing revenues, reliance on donations, staffing structure, telehealth capability, COVID-19-related expenses, and access to financial relief programs, among others.
Among other findings, the report reveals that:
• 83.3 percent of responding small and large group treatment providers experienced an overall decrease in insurance revenue between January-April 2020. On average, each responding small and large group treatment provider lost $21,452 during that time, with average monthly losses of $7,150
• 73.9 percent of organizations surveyed reported investing in new technology to see clients safely during COVID-19, at an average cost of $6,324;
• 47.8 percent of respondents reported canceling income-generating events, including fundraisers, with average lost revenue of $40,863 per organization.
• 39.1 percent of responding organizations reported spending on personal protection equipment (PPE), at an average cost of $3,155.
Extrapolated to include the qualifying organizations listed on the N.H. Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services’ Treatment Locator, these numbers indicate COVID-19 could lead to more than $6 million in billing losses among other costs, to treatment and recovery providers by October.
To make providers whole and ensure their stability into the future, an allocation of $15-$18 million to treatment and recovery organizations is needed across the state.
“For the future of the Granite State, we simply cannot allow treatment and recovery capacity to erode,” said Merritt. “Some of these losses will take years to recover and we must start rebuilding now.”
New Futures is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that advocates, educates and collaborates to improve the health and wellness of all New Hampshire residents. Learn more at new-futures.org.