New bills by Senators proposes increase in telemedicine access for substance abuse disorders

Opioid overdoses are common and are the number one cause of injury-related deaths in US as per the CDC reports. To combat this challenge new bills have been introduced by Senators seeking to increase access to telemedicine treatment for patients facing substance abuse disorders.

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Out of the proposed bills three of them are focussed at telehealth and are expected to get included in a larger legislative package by the Senate Finance Committee. They will go through the markup process in future.

The e-Treat Act proposes to expand Medicaid telemedicine services for opioid and substance abuse disorders by removing the site geographic restrictions for telehealth services.

The Telehealth for Children’s Access to Services and Treatment Act proposes that the comptroller general should evaluate access to telehealth and remote monitoring services to treat substance abuse disorder for paediatric patients under Medicaid.

The Medicaid Substance Treatment Via Telehealth Act requires the HHS secretary to guide states regarding federal reimbursement for the treatment of substance use disorder under the Medicaid through telehealth.

The Senate passed the Opioid Crisis Act of 2018 in April. It mentions the importance of telemedicine in the treatment of the epidemic. It needs the Drug Engagement Agency to chalk down guidelines about how much providers can prescribe through telemedicine.