Senate passes a new bill to expand telemedicine service to people with opioid abuse disorder

Telehealth software has made a considerable impact on healthcare. The senate passed a new opioid bill with an overwhelming majority. This vote expands telemedicine services to people with opioid abuse disorder, exempting it from certain requirements. It modifies the provisions with regards to electronic prescriptions and post-surgical pain management.

The telemedicine portion mentioned that states will be able to seek federal reimbursement under Medicaid for telemedicine service of substance abuse disorder. This includes medication-assisted treatment, medication management, counselling and medication adherence.

The bill has been passed by the House and is now in the stage of resolving differences, before going to the president.

US has been devastated by the opioid epidemic. In 2016, the CDC reported 63,632 drug overdose deaths in the US and in 66% of those deaths opioids were involved.  The East Coast has been hit the most with West Virginia, Ohio, New Hampshire, DC and Pennsylvania accounting for the highest drug overdose deaths in the country.

This legislation particularly focuses at people in high-risk groups including American Indians and Alaska Natives, adults under 40, people with a history of non-fatal overdoses and with co-occurring serious mental illness and substance abuse disorder.