NYSAM Urges Passage of Legislation to Increase Availability of Lifesaving Medications
On December 20th, the New York Society of Addiction Medicine (NYSAM) sent a letter to Governor Kathy Hochul urging her to sign A2030/S649. This legislation would remove prior authorization on all forms of medication for addiction treatment (MAT) within the state’s Medicaid program.
In the letter, NYSAM presented A2030/S649 as an opportunity to expand evidence-based treatment to all patients in New York, regardless of income. Previously, the state enacted legislation removing prior authorization on all forms of MAT under private insurance but failed to do the same for Medicaid. This status quo produces a discrepancy between the two systems which disadvantages the most vulnerable patients. Crucially, prior authorization requirements cause delays in prescriptions for patients with opioid use disorder, many of whom promptly need medication to stabilize their condition. As such, any delay in receiving medications increases the likelihood of returning to use or overdose. Additionally, NYSAM praised the fiscal benefits of A2030/S649. According to research, investments in expanding addiction treatment enable savings in other associated areas, such as reductions in healthcare and criminal justice costs. However, these savings are only realized when patients can access treatment without harmful, non-evidence-based barriers to care, like prior authorization. In turn, from both a public health and economic standpoint, A2030/S649 is an intelligent step to address the overdose crisis in New York state.