In a rare display of unity, President Donald Trump and bipartisan Congressional leaders have highlighted their shared commitment to tackling “surprise” medical billing – when an insured patient is subject to unexpectedly high out-of-pocket costs for out-of-network care that is beyond their control. Such surprise billing can occur when a patient receives emergency care from
President Trump has just signed into law HR 6, the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act. The bipartisan legislation includes almost 200 provisions intended to strengthen opioid prevention and treatment efforts and bolster law enforcement tools.
Among many other things, the new law:
- Seeks to
Advocates have been pushing hard over the past couple of years for the reform and expansion of mental illness and substance use disorder (i.e., behavioral health) treatment in the U.S. The 21st Century Cures Act — which has cleared Congress and is awaiting the President’s signature — includes a number of important provisions that reflect those efforts, including sections intended to strengthen, promote, and expand access to information, care, and coverage with respect to behavioral health care across communities and for individuals, families, and the nation’s health care workforce. The Act also includes $1 billion in block grant funding to target the “epidemic of death” associated with the opioid abuse crisis.
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Disorder Provisions
In one of the most noteworthy behavioral health provisions, the Act strengthens leadership within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) by creating a new Assistant Secretary position. The new role will oversee mental health and substance abuse research, funding, and evidence-based health care practices, and will drive and coordinate federal policy in this area. To do so, the Assistant Secretary will consult with stakeholders to improve community-based and other mental health services, including care for adults and children with serious mental illness, as well as collaborate with other federal departments, including the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development, and Labor, to improve care for veterans and service members and support programs to address chronic homelessness. The Assistant Secretary is also tasked with working with stakeholders to improve the recruitment and retention of mental health and substance use disorder professionals.
Continue Reading Major Mental Illness, Substance Use Disorder Reforms, Opioid Abuse Treatment Funding Included in 21st Century Cures Act
On June 9, 2015, the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services (OIG) released a fraud alert warning physicians to scrutinize carefully the conditions and terms of any medical director or other compensation arrangement they enter into with potential recipients of Federal health care program business. The risks associated with these arrangements under the anti-kickback statute are not new. However, the fraud alert signals the OIG’s current focus on physicians, which reportedly has also included hiring additional attorneys to handle investigative and enforcement activity involving physicians. Moreover, the government now has access to unprecedented amounts of data regarding financial arrangements between physicians and drug and device manufacturers.
The fraud alert follows on the heels of a dozen recent settlements between the OIG and individual physicians who allegedly received kickbacks disguised as medical directorships and other office staff arrangements. In those settlements, the OIG determined the physicians played an integral role in the schemes and specifically alleged that the agreements:…
Providers and suppliers have until April 16, 2012 to comment on the proposed rule to implement provisions of Section 6402(a) of the Affordable Care Act that require “persons” receiving Medicare and Medicaid funds to report and return overpayments no later than 60 days after the date on which the overpayment was identified or, if applicable,…