On Oct. 24, 2018, President Trump signed into law the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and  Communities Act, also known as the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act (H.R.6).1 According to the White House, this Act “addresses the opioid crisis by reducing access to and the supply of opioids and by expanding access to prevention, treatment and recovery services.”2

The Act itself is long (250 pages) and contains many provisions. This article will highlight some of the provisions that may be of the most interest to you.

Telehealth

  • By Oct. 24, 2019, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) shall issue guidance to states regarding options for telehealth services to address substance use disorders under Medicaid.
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It’s no secret that Pennsylvania is ground zero in the national opioid crisis, and in fact Allegheny County is seeing more overdoses than the rest of the state. The Drug Enforcement Agency reported 4,642 total fatal drug overdoses in Pennsylvania in 2016, a 37% increase from the prior year. 2016 represented the third consecutive year in which the number of fatal overdoses exceeded all prior years. Drugs contributing to the crisis include heroin as well as prescription pain medications such as morphine, codeine, methadone, oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, and hydromorphone. 

 There is plenty of blame to go around.  Although street drugs like heroin remain a factor, opioid manufacturers are under increased scrutiny for their marketing practices.

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