CMS Physician Payment Rule Allows Addiction Counselors to Bill to Medicare

On July 13th the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the proposed Calendar Year 2024 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, which outlines updates to rates, health equity projects, and critical behavioral health services. As part of the CMS Behavioral Health Strategy to support emotional and mental well-being, the rule would allow marriage and family therapists and mental health counselors, including addiction counselors, to enroll in Medicare to bill for their services. Additionally, the rule includes proposed payment increases for crisis care, substance use disorder treatment, and psychotherapy. The rule will be subject to a public comment period on the Federal Register starting August 7th, 2023. Dr. Meena Seshamani, Deputy Administrator at CMS noted in the press release, “CMS continues to demonstrate commitment to advancing health equity and building a stronger Medicare program… If finalized, the proposals in this rule ensure the people we serve experience coordinated care focused on treating the whole person, considering each person’s unique story and individualized needs — physical health, behavioral health, oral health, social determinants of health, and are inclusive of caregivers, which are all so important to providing the care that people with Medicare deserve.”

Articles & Resources

CMS—Press Release

Federal Register

Senator Ossoff Introduces the Fentanyl Trafficking Prevention Act

On July 12th, Senator Jon Ossoff (GA) introduced the Fentanyl Trafficking Prevention Act in an effort to hold social media companies accountable for distributing opioids and synthetic opioids. This legislation aligns with Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Anne Milgram recent comments that social media companies are not doing enough to prevent the sale of dangerous drugs on their platforms. The bill will amend the Controlled Substances Act and the Communications Act of 1934 and create criminal and civil penalties for the unlawful distribution or dispensing of opioids, synthetic opioids, methamphetamine, or cocaine. The bill also includes key privacy provisions and civil liberty protections for Americans, and includes language to protect platforms’ end-to-end encryption messaging. The bill has been referred to the Judiciary Committee and will likely make a stop in the Commerce Committee before heading to the Senate floor.

Articles & Resources

Senator Jon Ossoff—Sen. Ossoff Introduces Legislation to Crack Down on Fentanyl Trafficking

S.2264—Fentanyl Trafficking Prevention Act

What We Read Last Week

Several articles were published last week pertaining to the opioid epidemic, covering a variety of different components of the topic. Links to relevant articles are provided below.

Alzheimer Association—New Use of Opioids Increases Risk of Death Elevenfold in Older Adults with Dementia

Axios—Why mainstreaming psychedelics isn’t generating a fuss

KFF Health News—The Painful Legacy of ‘Law and Order’ Treatment of Addiction in Jail

The New Yorker—The Newest Music-Festival Booth: Free Narcan

NPR—How Baltimore is trying to keep its people safe from xylazine

The Washington Post—Alcohol consumption surged during the pandemic—and deaths followed

This Week’s Calendar

In the week ahead, there are no relevant events or hearings noticed at this time. In the event that there are any changes to the schedule for this week, we will make additional information available.

  • House Committee on Oversight and Accountability
    Oversight and Reauthorization of the Office of National Drug Control Policy
    Thursday, July 27; 10:00 AM EDT; Hearing Notice

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