Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) in a letter to stakeholders request input on Medicare and Medicaid policy options to combat the opioid epidemic.

While Hatch and Wyden acknowledge the challenges federal programs face in battling the epidemic, they also note that the crisis provides an opportunity for the committee to stop the root causes of opioid use disorder and other substance use disorders.

The letter seeks feedback in these areas in which the epidemic intersects with Medicare and Medicaid policy:

  • payment incentives to promote evidence-based treatments that minimize the risk of developing a substance abuse disorder for beneficiaries using chronic care;
  • barriers to non-pharmaceutical therapies;
  • payment incentives to remove barriers to prevention, screening, assessment, and treatment of substance abuse disorders;
  • new or revised prescription drug program rules that aim to minimize the risk of substance use disorders while promoting access to appropriate prescriptions;
  • identification and education of health professionals with high opioid prescribing patterns;
  • improved data sharing and coordination between Medicare, Medicaid, and state initiatives;
  • states’ best practices in Medicaid policies or the private sector; and
  • human services efforts that might prevent or mitigate the adverse effects of substance use disorders.

Feedback must be submitted to opioids@finance.senate.gov by Feb. 16.

Contact Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.