Brigid’s Path in Kettering is the state’s first crisis care nursery for drug-addicted newborns. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF
Photo: Chris Stewart
Photo: Chris Stewart

Kettering facility hoping legislation can provide financial boost

Brigid’s Path, which recently celebrated its one-year anniversary at 3601 S Dixie Dr., is not eligible to receive Medicaid reimbursement. It relies heavily on donations from individuals and foundations, said Jill Kingston, the co-founder and executive director.

The Caring Recovery for Infants and Babies Act would change that. It was passed by the Senate this week as part of a large legislative package designed to combat the growing to addiction epidemic.

“Too many victims of this epidemic are the infants born to mothers who struggle with addiction,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who was part of bipartisan support for the bill that also included Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. “With the right care, newborns born with neonatal abstinence syndrome have every shot of growing up healthy.”

Kingston said that the bill would allow Medicaid to cover certain health care services provided to infants in residential pediatric recovery facilities and hospitals. It would also clarify that babies receiving services in residential pediatric recovery centers can continue to receive services after one year of age, and provide for activities to encourage caregiver-infant bonding.

“Babies born exposed to opioids are the most vulnerable victims of this epidemic. It is imperative to create a continuum of care for these babies, so that they and their families can get the right services at the right time in the right setting,” she said.

“Under current federal law, pediatric recovery centers like Brigid’s Path are not eligible to receive Medicaid reimbursement. But passage of the CRIB Act can change this by creating a pathway to Medicaid reimbursement for pediatric recovery centers like Brigid’s Path.”

Costs at Brigid’s Path are not reimbursed by Medicaid, so the CRIB Act should bring welcome financial relief, Kingston said.

“We do need Medicaid and we are working on that at the federal and state level,” she said. “We cannot right now because we are a newborn recovery center and that does not exist in the Social Security Act as something that can receive funding. We are going to start working with the child welfare system to see about funding. But right now everything is just donations from individuals and foundations.”

The CRIB Act would allow Medicaid to reimburse for covered Medicaid services in residential pediatric recovery facilities in addition to hospitals.

“As far as Medicaid, we need the CRIB Act to pass the House and be signed by the president,” Kingston said. “Then, we can start working with the State of Ohio to receive reimbursement for Medicaid eligible services. This process could take a year or more.”

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