Federal Employee Health Care Plan Will Tighten Rules For Opioid Prescription Coverage
Officials said that patients who need long-term painkillers will still be able to get them, but the new guidance is geared toward cutting down bad overprescription habits. Meanwhile, CMS has also released new options for Medicaid to help mothers and their children who are affected by opioids. In other news on the crisis: divvying up the winnings from lawsuits, a surge in meth, cocaine and stimulants, and post-jail opioid use.
The Associated Press:
Trump Administration Tightens Opioid Prescriptions For Feds
The government’s employee health plan will tighten its rules for covering prescription opioid painkillers starting this fall, the Trump administration said Monday. The announcement by a senior administration official was part of a White House drug policy briefing. The official spoke on condition of anonymity under the media coverage rules established for the event. The Federal Employee Health Benefits Program is the world’s largest job-based health plan, covering an estimated 9 million people, including workers, retirees and family members. (Alonso-Zaldivar, 7/29)
CMS Issues Guidance On Services For Moms, Babies With Opioid Disorder
The CMS on Monday revealed new coverage options that state Medicaid programs can use to help moms and babies affected by opioid use disorder. In two informational bulletins, the agency clarified provisions included in the Support for Patients and Communities Act, a package of legislation signed into law in October to combat the opioid epidemic, that addresses treatment for pregnant and postpartum women with substance use disorder and for babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome. (LIvingston, 7/29)
The Associated Press:
Big Question In Opioid Suits: How To Divide Any Settlement
The roughly 2,000 state and local governments suing the drug industry over the deadly opioid crisis have yet to see any verdicts or reach any big national settlements but are already tussling with each other over how to divide any money they collect. The reason: Some of them want to avoid what happened 20 years ago, when states agreed to a giant settlement with the tobacco industry and used most of the cash on projects that had little to do with smoking’s toll. (Mulvihill, 7/29)
Seizures Of Meth, Cocaine And Prescription Stimulants Surging All Around U.S.
Methamphetamine, an illegal drug that sends the body into overdrive, is surging through the United States. Federal drug data provided exclusively to NPR show seizures of meth by authorities have spiked, rising 142% between 2017 and 2018. "Seizures indicate increasing trafficking in these drugs," says John Eadie, public health coordinator for the federal government's National Emerging Threats Initiative, part of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program. "So if seizures have more than doubled, it probably means more than double trafficking in methamphetamines. And with that go additional deaths." (Bebinger, 7/29)
Minnesota Public Radio:
St. Louis County Working To Reduce Post-Jail Opioid Overdoses
St. Louis County is creating a program to provide medication for opioid treatment in the county jail as part of a U.S. Department of Justice initiative that seeks to reduce the number of people overdosing on opioids. As part of the planning initiative, St. Louis County staff will be guided in how to set up a program where inmates and those leaving jail can be prescribed medications like buprenorphine and methadone that are used to treat opioid dependence. (Collins, 7/29)