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Addiction Medicine Leaders Applaud Signing of Historic Opioid Legislation into Law

October 24, 2018

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While Legislation is Critical Step, Work Remains to Transform America’s Addiction Treatment Infrastructure

Rockville, MD (October 24, 2018) – The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) today praised President Trump for signing H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, into law. The leading association for addiction treatment professionals noted that while H.R. 6 is a critical step toward stemming the nation’s opioid overdose epidemic, more work remains to ensure that patients receive whole-person, evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder.


“This historic and bipartisan legislative package – which includes key provisions to teach, standardize, and cover addiction medicine – will help us strengthen America’s addiction treatment infrastructure and save lives,” said Kelly J. Clark, MD, MBA, DFAPA, DFASAM, president of ASAM. “While the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act is an important step forward, there is much work ahead to ensure that all Americans living with addiction have access to treatment that is standardized and evidence-based, as well as comprehensive insurance coverage.”


In addition to supporting this legislation, ASAM is leading national efforts to reform payment structures for addiction treatment and expand access to evidence-based care.


These efforts include the development of an alternative payment model, in coordination with the American Medical Association, that would revolutionize how patients with opioid use disorder are treated. Known as Patient-Centered Opioid Addiction Treatment (P-COAT), the payment model is expected to increase the number of patients with opioid use disorder who are able to lead satisfying, productive lives through successful management of their condition, while also reducing health care spending on costs associated with addiction, such as expensive emergency department visits and hospitalizations.


Earlier this month, ASAM also announced the pilot launch of a national level-of-care certification program in partnership with CARF International that will help patients and loved ones easily identify treatment programs that have the ability to provide evidence-based care based on ASAM’s nationally established guidelines.


“Certification is the critical next step to implement consistent standards across the nation, build continuity, transparency and consumer confidence around the services patients receive at a particular program, ensure provider fidelity to The ASAM Criteria, and address this urgent national public health need,” said Clark.


ASAM is also part of a broad coalition of stakeholders urging Congressional leaders to pass legislation that more closely aligns 42 CFR Part 2 (Part 2) with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This alignment would allow for the appropriate disclosure of patient information to coordinate safely and effectively addiction treatment services.


“As we celebrate this bipartisan legislative achievement, ASAM continues the important work of advancing sustainable, systemic solutions that will transform our addiction treatment landscape and ensure all Americans living with addiction receive the high-quality care they need and deserve,” Clark concluded.


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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

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E: rreid@schmidtpa.com