NASADAD D.C. Update
June 13, 2014
Around the Agences
- HHS Leaders Call for Expanded Use of Medications to Combat Opioid Overdose Epidemic
- CMS Releases “EPSDT – A Guide for States: Coverage in the Medicaid Benefit for Children and Adolescents” and Includes Section on Substance Abuse Services
News from the States
- Marijuana Tax Collections Booming in Colorado
- Massachusetts Department of Public Health Releases Report on Recommendations Responding to the Opioid Epidemic
- CDC Releases 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS)
- Recording Available Online of April 2014 Town Hall Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking
HHS Leaders Call for Expanded Use of Medications to Combat Opioid Overdose Epidemic
The New England Journal of Medicine published commentary authored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on the underutilization of addiction medications and efforts by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to encourage their use. “The commentary calls upon health care providers to expand their use of medications to treat opioid addiction and reduce overdose deaths, and describes a number of misperceptions that have limited access to these potentially life-saving medications. The commentary also discusses how medications can be used in combination with behavior therapies to help drug users recover and remain drug-free, and use of data-driven tracking to monitor program progress.”
HHS released a full press release.
See also NASADAD’s one-page consensus statement on the use of medications.
CMS Releases “EPSDT – A Guide for States: Coverage in the Medicaid Benefit for Children and Adolescents” and Includes Section on Substance Abuse Services
The report provides an overview of the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment services (EPSDT) and provides information on screenings, diagnostic services, the scope of treatment services, limitations on covered services, other available federal services, and access to services. The report also describes that EPSDT covers mental health and substance abuse treatment services regardless of whether the services are provided under the State’s plan. EPSDT covers a variety of substance abuse services, and numerous examples are provided.
Medicare Announces New Hep C Screening Policy –from National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD) Update on June 10th
Medicare announced last week that it will now cover the cost of screening for Hepatitis C. Adults at high risk for infection, including those who inject illegal drugs or had a blood transfusion before 1992, are eligible, as is anyone in Medicare ages 49 to 69. Medicare didn’t previously cover screening. Coverage for the new Hepatitis C product, Sovaldi will fall under the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program. Part D plans are scheduled to submit their premium bids for 2015 later this month, and this could reveal more about the impact on costs to Medicare.
Marijuana Tax Collections Booming in Colorado
News reports claim that tax collections show that Colorado sold roughly $22 million worth of marijuana for personal use in April, an increase of about 17% from March and 58% from January (when retail sales began). The Colorado Department of Revenue estimates that the State collected more than $5 million from marijuana taxes and fees in April. Medical marijuana sales outpaced personal use sales by about 44% during the same month.
Massachusetts Department of Public Health Releases Report on Recommendations Responding to the Opioid Epidemic
The MA Dept. of Public Health released the Opioid Task Force’s report, Findings of the Opioid Task Force and Department of Public Health Recommendations on Priorities for Investments in Prevention, Intervention, Treatment and Recovery on June 10th. The report was drafted in response to Governor Patrick’s declaration that opioid use had become a public health emergency in the State. The recommendations include expanding treatment capacity, the creation of a service locator to help consumers find treatment services, facilitating additional opioid prevention coalitions, identifying additional safeguards for commonly misused opioids, and the expansion of injectable naltrexone for persons exiting correctional facilities.
CDC Releases 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS)
Data from the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, released on June 12th, finds that cigarette smoking rates among U.S. high school students have dropped to a 22-year low. This trend achieves the Healthy People 2020 goal of reducing teen smoking to 16% or less. Reducing the use of other tobacco products (hookah and e-cigarettes) remains a challenge. The report includes data on a variety of other health behaviors, including fighting, sexual behaviors, use of technology while driving, sedentary behavior, and much more. This survey is the “only surveillance system designed to monitor a wide range of priority health risk behaviors among representative samples of high school students at the national, State, and local levels.”
Recording Available Online of April 2014 Town Hall Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking
Robert Morrison, NASADAD Executive Director attended the national launch of the 2014 Town Hall Meetings to prevent underage drinking held by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in April at the University of Maryland, School of Public Health. Featured presentations included:
Acting Surgeon General Boris D. Lushniak, M.D., M.P.H;
SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D.;
Amelia Arria, Ph.D., the Maryland Collaborative to Reduce College Drinking and Related Problems and the University of Maryland School of Public Health; and
Brittany Sandidge, Prevention Council of Roanoke County, Virginia.
A recording of this event is now available on the web portal of the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking, for on-demand viewing.