CMS using SUPPORT Act to Combat Opioid Crisis


WASHINGTON, DC– The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is using the expansion in telehealth from SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act to put forward a plan to help those suffering from the opioid crisis. If included in the 2020 physician payment updates, the plan will include services for a patient’s counseling for substance use disorder and psychotherapy through Medicare telehealth.

CMS proposes opioid telehealth codes, measures to reduce EHR burden
By Arthur Allen and Mohana Ravindranath

CMS today proposed to cover virtual psychotherapy and substance use disorder counseling as part of bundled payments for opioid use disorder, one of many potential updates to physician payment next year.

The agency proposed new codes for a monthly bundle covering services including managing and coordinating care as well as behavioral treatment.

Read full article here.


Telehealth services for the treatment of opioid use disorder and other substance use disorders were expanded in Title II, Section 2001 of the SUPPORT Act. This eliminates certain statutory originating site requirements for telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries for the treatment of substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders. It allows payment for those services furnished via telehealth at originating sites, including a beneficiary’s home, regardless of geographic location. A separate facility fee would not be provided if the originating site is the beneficiary’s home.

The SUPPORT Act– signed into law last year – continues to deliver real results. This recent announcement by CMS is one of many plans that federal agencies have proposed or launched to combat the opioid epidemic. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently proposed a plan for fixed-quantity blister packaging to decrease the opportunity of excess opioids falling into the hands of the friends and family of a patient. Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration (DEA) initiated a tool to stop orders of opioids that appear suspicious.