Addiction Policy News

ASAM Applauds Critical Provisions in US House-Passed, Updated HEROES Act

October 2, 2020

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Nation’s leading association of addiction specialist physicians and other clinicians urges the Senate to pass a package that includes key provisions to preserve and expand access to addiction treatment


Rockville, MD – The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) today applauded the House of Representatives’ recent passage of key provisions in the updated HEROES Act, the House’s proffer in ongoing negotiations on the next COVID-19 supplemental package.  If included in the final package, these key provisions will help preserve and expand access to addiction treatment at a time when Americans are in crisis.


Specifically, ASAM commended the inclusion of the following provisions:  


  • $50 billion for the Healthcare Provider Relief Fund;


  • An increase in Federal Medical Assistance Percentage payments to state Medicaid programs by a total of 14 percentage points from October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021;


  • Permission for states to restart Medicaid coverage for eligible individuals who are incarcerated for the 30 days prior to their release and a directive to the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission to submit a report to Congress on the Medicaid inmate exclusion clause and how it impacts Americans who are incarcerated; and


  • Increased funding for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for the provision of mental health and substance abuse services and support.


ASAM urges the Senate to act quickly and pass a COVID-19 supplemental package that includes these critical provisions, in addition to the bipartisan Telehealth Response for E-prescribing Addiction Therapy Services (TREATS) Act, legislation introduced by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).  The TREATS Act would permanently extend the Trump Administration’s emergency actions to waive certain regulatory restrictions for accessing telemedicine services for substance use disorder treatment – specifically the ability to prescribe buprenorphine without needing a prior in-person visit.


“We applaud Congressional leaders for recognizing that the addiction and overdose crisis is getting worse during COVID-19 and for responding with legislation that will help millions of Americans access the treatment and support services they need,” said Shawn Ryan, MD, MBA, FASAM, Chair of ASAM’s Legislative Advocacy Committee.


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