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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Medication Assisted Treatment is Subject of CMS Informational Bulletin

July 17, 2014 | Addictions | Comments
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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released an Informational Bulletin highlighting the use of FDA-approved medications in combination with evidence-based behavioral therapies—commonly referred to as “Medication Assisted Treatment” (MAT)—to help persons with mental health and substance use disorders recover in a safe and cost-effective manner. The bulletin provides background information about MAT, examples of state-based initiatives, and useful resources to help ensure proper delivery of these services.

Key points included in the Bulletin are:

  • Medications – The Bulletin includes information on medications to treat opioid use disorders and medications to treat alcohol use disorders.  With respect to opioid use disorders, CMS cites Methadone, Buprenorphine, and Naltrexone as the list of FDA-approved medications.  The Bulletin also enumerates FDA-approved alcohol use medications: Acamprosate, Disulfiram, and Naltrexone.
  • Behavioral Therapies – The Bulletin notes that a combination of medication and behavioral therapies is the most effective in treating substance use disorders.  Treatment strategies that can be used in combination with medications to successfully address substance use include: (1) individual therapy, group counseling, and family behavior therapy; (2) cognitive-behavioral therapy; (3) motivational enhancement; and (4) motivational incentives.
  • Screening and Management – In outlining ‘additional services’ that could be provided to patients receiving MAT, the Bulletin suggest screening and managing co-occurring physical and mental health issues.
  • State-Based Initiatives – The Bulletin cites several state-based initiatives for MAT, including
    • Vermont: To improve the coordination of care for individuals struggling with opioid addiction issues and to facilitate MAT use, Vermont has developed a proposal for a health home model, called the Hub and Spoke model.
    • Rhode Island: The State received approval for its 2703 person-centered health home provision focused on opioid-dependent Medicaid beneficiaries who are currently receiving or who meet criteria for MAT.
    • Texas: Since February of 2011, qualified physicians and Chemical Dependency Treatment Facilities are able to bill the Texas Medicaid and Healthcare Partnership for MAT.
    • Ohio: In July of 2012, the Ohio Medicaid program began to cover MAT as a component of its Medicaid program.

A copy of the Informational Bulletin is available here.