Federal Changes Take Aim At Opioid Abuse

Oct 5, 2018

The federal government is changing rules about how it helps with treatment for substance-abuse disorders, including requiring screening new Medicare beneficiaries for opioid abuse.

The bipartisan legislation, which passed the U.S. Senate by a 98-1 vote Wednesday and is headed to President Donald Trump, also requires the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to identify beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Part D with a history of opioid-related overdoses so they can be included in the Medicare Part D Drug Management Program. Part D is the Medicare prescription-drug benefit.

The bill also would expand the use of telehealth services for the treatment of substance-abuse disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders.

Among other provisions, the bill would increase the number of health-care providers who can prescribe or dispense medication-assisted treatment.

U.S, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla, and Marco Rubio, R-Fla, supported the bill. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah was the lone no vote. Read a summary of the bill.