FEDERAL RULES CHANGE

Posted 25 days ago by Denise Coppa

To simplify and expand access to addiction treatment to save more lives, the Biden administration has announced changes to decades-old federal rules.

“The final rule, issued by HHS, makes permanent pandemic-era flexibilities that allow eligible patients with an opioid use disorder (OUD) to receive take-home methadone doses.” According to a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) press release, “studies have suggested that take-home doses improve treatment adherence and reduce patients' risk of illicit opioid use.”

HHS Deputy Secretary Andrea Palm said, “At HHS, we believe there should be no wrong door for people who are seeking support and care to manage their behavioral health challenges, including when it comes to getting treatment for substance use disorder. The easier we make it for people to access the treatments they need, the more lives we can save.”

Bobby Mukkamala, MD, chair of the American Medical Association's Substance Use and Pain Care Task Force, cheered the update as a "step in the right direction in the fight against the worsening overdose epidemic." He notes that “the task force was especially pleased to see the administration's focus on increasing equitable access to care and reducing the stigma around treatment.”