The SUPPORT Act – Supporting Opioid Treatment via Telemedicine

October 23, 2018 | Ada Kozicz | Legislation and Public Policy | Medicare and Medicaid | Pharmaceuticals | Telehealth

On October 3, 2018, Congress passed the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act. The SUPPORT Act is intended to combat the opioid and heroin crisis by reducing use and supply, encouraging recovery, supporting caregivers and families, and driving innovation and long-term solutions. It also includes the expansion of telemedicine services in connection with opioid and heroin treatment.

Specifically, the SUPPORT Act provides for the following:

  • States will receive guidance on ways to expand telemedicine services for substance abuse treatment under their Medicaid programs;
  • Medicare will expand its access for such telemedicine services by eliminating geographic restrictions on where a patient can be located while receiving the services; and
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will be required to issue regulations governing how providers can register for qualification to prescribe controlled substances via telemedicine in emergency situations, for example, when a specialist is not available on hand for an in-person consultation.
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