HIMSS and PCHAlliance Support Telehealth Bill for Treatment of Opioid Abuse

Apr 27, 2018

HIMSS and PCHAlliance Support Telehealth Bill for Treatment of Opioid Abuse

HIMSS and PCHAlliance together submitted a letter supporting the Access to Telehealth Services for Opioid Use Disorders Act (H.R. 5603), led by Representative Cardenas (D-CA) and Representative Matsui (D-CA), that provides waivers of Medicare telehealth restrictions to permit broader use of telehealth for treatment of opioid abuse disorder.

As stated in our letter, “For those who become addicted to opioids, substance abuse therapy is an essential part of treatment. And, as noted by CMS and HHS officials in recent testimony, telehealth is a vital part of the treatment solution. A recent review of evidence conducted by PCHAlliance notes promise for mental health services delivered via telehealth, as there are indications of both improved outcomes and access.” The letter concludes, “The Act gives the Secretary of Health and Human Services the authority to waive certain telehealth restrictions, for the purposes of treating an opioid use disorder, that have been found to save money, improve quality of care without increasing spending, or improve access to services. Passage of this bill or the inclusion of these legislative provisions in any Committee opioid crisis legislation will improve desperately needed addiction treatment for Medicare patients.”

Congresswoman Matsui submitted our letter for the record during a subcommittee hearing, and recognized our organizations as supporters of the legislation. The bill was adopted by voice vote on April 25, and next will go to full committee.

Read the full letter here