Advocacy

ASAM serves its members in many ways. One of the most important ways is by helping to play an active role in shaping government policies that affect their livelihoods and the lives of their patients.

ASAM advocates for policies that promote access to high-quality treatment and recovery support services for the 22 million Americans who suffer from a substance use disorder. The information here will help you stay up to date on emerging issues, enable you to take action and become an advocate for your patients and your practice, and learn about how ASAM is working with government, insurers and other national organizations to promote policies that advance addiction medicine.

CSOO

Opioid misuse and overdose are a public health crisis in the United States.  ASAM and others have come together as the Coalition to Stop Opioid Overdose to advance meaningful legislative and regulatory policies this year in response to the opioid epidemic.

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2016 NPF Training

Audio, text, slides, photos and selected 5-minute videos segments from the 2016 NPF/ ASAM Training held in April 2016 preceding the 47th ASAM Annual Conference in Baltimore, MD.

Advocacy Toolkits_472x176

Advocacy Toolkits

Access resources that will equip you to advocate effectively for policies that promote addiction treatment and prevention.

Advocacy Events_472x176

Advocacy Issues

Find the latest information on issues of importance to the field of addiction medicine.

NPF training_472x176

Advocacy News

News and information about ASAM Advocacy.

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Find a Policy Statement

Learn about ASAM's position on current policy issues.

Staff

Kelly Corredor
Director, Advocacy and Government Relations
kcorredor@ASAM.org | 301.547.4111

 

Susan Awad
Policy Advisor
sawad@ASAM.org | 301.547.4103

 

Corey Barton
Manager, Private Sector Relations
cbarton@ASAM.org | 301.547.4106

 

Brad Bachman
Manager, State Advocacy and Government Relations
bbachman@ASAM.org | 301.547.4107

 

Connor Galvin
Specialist, Federal Advocacy and Policy 
cgalvin@ASAM.org | 301.547.4135

Committee Chairs

Corey Waller, MD, MS, FACEP
Flora Sadri, DO, MPF, FAAFP

Chair and Vice Chair, Legislative Advocacy Committee

 

Jeffrey Selzer, MD, DFASAM
Randolph Holmes, MD, FASAM

Chair and Vice Chair, Public Policy Committee

 

Shawn Ryan, MD, MBA, FASAM
Frank James, MD, JD

Chair and Vice Chair, Payer Relations Committee

Advocacy Articles

ASAM Responds to Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, Urges CMS to Reform Payment Models to Address Opioid Addiction

by ASAM Staff | Sep 10, 2018

Press Release

ASAM Responds to Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, Urges CMS to Reform Payment Models to Address Opioid Addiction

Rockville, MD (September 10, 2018) – Today, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that recommend revisions to the proposed 2019 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) that will improve the delivery of evidence-based addiction medicine to combat the nation’s opioid overdose epidemic.  Most notably, ASAM recommended that CMS adopt a separate Medicare payment to address the specific needs of patients with addiction involving opioid use to facilitate greater continuity of care.

“ASAM appreciates that the proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule includes provisions to improve the delivery of addiction treatment; however, we believe the MPFS must be revised to specifically address the nation’s debilitating opioid overdose epidemic,” said Kelly J. Clark, MD, MBA, DFASAM, president of ASAM. “More than 72,000 Americans lost their lives to drug overdoses last year—the vast majority of which involved opioids – so it is imperative that federal payment policies make treatment for Americans with addiction involving opioid use more affordable and accessible.”

Addiction – a chronic, multidimensional disease of the brain characterized by a pattern of continued pathological use of drugs that results in repeated adverse consequences – affects more than 20 million Americans, according to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Unfortunately, significant barriers to evidence-based treatment currently exist. Despite the overwhelming need nationwide, only a small fraction of individuals who require specialty treatment are able to access it.

Unless amended, several provisions of the MPFS would adversely affect care for patients with addiction involving opioid use. Specifically, creating a new Medicare payment for substance use disorder (SUD) treatment in general rather than one tailored to the treatment of addiction involving opioid use specifically would be inappropriate to address the unique medical, psychological, and social needs of patients receiving treatment for addiction involving opioid use.  Consequently, this proposed payment would do little to address the barriers posed by the existing financing structure for outpatient treatment services for addiction involving opioid use and the siloed treatment of addiction care that continue to drive up healthcare costs.

To address these issues, ASAM, in collaboration with the American Medical Association, recently unveiled an innovative alternative payment model (APM) known as Patient-Centered Opioid Addiction Treatment (P-COAT), which is designed to provide appropriate financial support to treat patients with addiction involving opioid use and broaden the coordinated delivery of medical, psychological and social support services. ASAM strongly opposes the adoption of a new payment structure under the budget-neutral MPFS, and instead recommends that the agency provide a separate payment through an APM, such as P-COAT that aims to provide quality care by increasing investment and rewarding good performance while ensuring accountability.

ASAM believes that APMs should be structured to involve physicians with direct experience and demonstrated success in treating patients with addiction. It is also critical that new payment structures solve the current problems with our payment and delivery system without creating new problems in the process. Finally, payment models should emphasize that treatment and recovery from addiction is a life-long process, and that there is no fixed time limit on treatment.

Furthermore, while ASAM supports prevention strategies that will help turn the tide of the opioid overdose epidemic, it recognizes that insufficient evidence exists to assess the effectiveness of using Screening, Brief Interventions, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) services to reduce opioid use. Therefore, ASAM urges CMS to eliminate the service-specific documentation requirements for SBIRT services solely for unhealthy alcohol use, and recommends the agency adopt the proposed new SBIRT code for unhealthy alcohol use, but not for illicit drug use.

Finally, ASAM commends CMS for including a provision in the proposed MPFS to modify burdensome evaluation and management (E/M) coding documentation guidelines. These guidelines require physicians to spend significant amounts of time completing paperwork at the expense of seeing patients. However, ASAM opposes the adoption of the proposed E/M payment changes and has asked CMS to postpone finalizing these payment proposals, as well as outpatient visit coding, until a consensus about an equitable coding structure emerges.

“As CMS introduces new regulations to help address the country’s opioid overdose epidemic, we look forward to working with federal health officials to develop new ways to use our resources more effectively and better mobilize the healthcare system in order to provide evidence-based treatment to the millions of Americans battling opioid addiction,” said Dr. Clark. 

To view the comment letter, click here.

 

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About ASAM 

The American Society of Addiction Medicine, founded in 1954, is a professional society representing over 6,000 physicians, clinicians, and associated professionals in the field of addiction medicine. ASAM is dedicated to increasing access and improving the quality of addiction treatment, educating physicians and the public, supporting research and prevention, and promoting the appropriate role of physicians in the care of patients with addiction. For more information, visit www.ASAM.org.

Media Contact:

Rebecca Reid | P: 410-212-3843 | E: rreid@schmidtpa.com