Promising Practices for Meeting the Needs of Dually Eligible Older Adults with Substance Use Disorders

Event Start Date: May 16, 2019 - 5:30 PM EDT
Event End Date: May 16, 2019 - 7:00 PM EDT

Supporting documents such as webinar slides, transcript, and additional resources are available to download by scrolling to the attachments section below.


This webinar is also available as a podcast on SoundCloud and iTunes.

In 2018, Resources for Integrated Care held the Supporting Older Adults with Substance Use Disorders webinar, which focused on screening and assessment approaches for older adults with SUD. The 2019 Promising Practices for Meeting the Needs of Dually Eligible Older Adults with Substance Use Disorders webinar takes a closer look at this important topic, including a focus on tailored screenings, resources, treatment approaches, and programs to meet the needs of older adults with SUD.

Substance use disorders (SUD) are an emerging public health concern for the growing population of older adults. By 2020, the number of older adults with SUD is expected to rise to 5.7 million, up from 2.8 million in 2002-2006.1 Older adults with SUD face unique challenges in receiving appropriate care. The formal diagnosis criteria in the DSM-5 for SUD are less relevant for older adults than they are for the general population, making SUD symptoms more difficult to identify among older adults.2 Historically, older adults are also less likely to be screened for SUD.3,4 In addition, individuals dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid have approximately twice the rates of co-occurring SUD and chronic pain relative to Medicare-only beneficiaries, making them a particularly vulnerable group.5

Older adults with SUD benefit from treatment approaches that are age and generationally appropriate, and designed to address common co-occurring conditions, mobility limitations, and social factors.6 Evidence has shown that age-specific programs, such as group therapy for older adults, lead to better long-term treatment outcomes.7  

This interactive webinar discusses common SUDs among dually eligible older adults, identifies promising practices for screening, treatment, and care coordination, and demonstrates practical strategies for meeting the needs of older adults with SUDs. Speakers, including a consumer with lived experience, share lessons learned and strategies to provide effective care for dually eligible older adults with SUDs.

By the end of this webinar, participants should be able to:

  1. Identify unique characteristics of SUDs among older adults
  2. Recognize effective strategies for screening SUDs among older adults and helping them transition from assessment to treatment
  3. Recognize how to provide tailored treatment, recovery support services, and community resources to older adults
  4. Identify opportunities to collaborate with clinicians, social workers, case managers, and caregivers to support older adults with SUDs

Featured Speakers:

  • Dr. Louis Trevisan, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Yale University
  • Dr. Nicole MacFarland, PhD, Executive Director, Senior Hope Counseling
  • Elizabeth Baumann, LSW, Case Manager, Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio
  • Sherri, CASAC, Consumer

Intended Audience:

This webinar is intended for a wide range of stakeholders – front-line staff at social service agencies, providers and health care professionals (such as physicians, psychologists, nurses, social workers, certified prevention specialists, case managers, addiction counselors), MMPs, D-SNPs, managed long-term services and supports programs, and consumer organizations.

1 Wu, L. T., & Blazer, D. G. (2011). Illicit and nonmedical drug use among older adults: a review. Journal of aging and health, 23(3), 481-504.

2 Kuerbis, A., Sacco, P., Blazer, D. G., Moore, A. A. (2014). Substance abuse among older adults. Clinical Geriatric Medicine, 30, 629-654.

3 Duru, O. K., Xu, H., Tseng, C. H., Mirkin, M., Ang, A., Tallen, L., … & Ettner, S. L. (2010). Correlates of alcohol‐related discussions between older adults and their physicians. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 58(12), 2369-2374.

4 D’amico, E. J., Paddock, S. M., Burnam, A., & Kung, F. Y. (2005). Identification of and guidance for problem drinking by general medical providers: results from a national survey. Medical care, 229-236.

5 Donovan, S., & Coleman, K. (2016, October 3). Opportunities for MMPs, PACE organizations, and D-SNPs to Prevent Identify, and Treat Opioid Addiction or Misuse among Medicare-Medicaid Dually Eligible Beneficiaries [Letter to Medicare-Medicaid Plans, PACE Organizations, and Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans].

6 Kuehn, B. (2016, April 19). Substance Use Treatment for Older Adults. Retrieved from

7 Kofoed, L. L., Tolson, R. L., Atkinson, R. M., Toth, R. L., & Turner, J. A. (1987). Treatment compliance of older alcoholics: an elder-specific approach is superior to” mainstreaming”. Journal of studies on alcohol, 48(1), 47-51.