Substance Abuse

News & Analysis as of

Obama Administration, Congress Take Steps to Fight Opioid Epidemic

HHS has announced a series of actions to address the nation’s opioid epidemic, as Congress has cleared the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act for the President’s signature. As part of the HHS activities, the Substance...more

House of Representatives Approves Mental Health System Reform Bill

The House of Representative has overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan bill (H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act) to reform the nation’s mental health care system. Key provisions of the legislation...more

Addressing the Opioid Crisis

Following the July 13 U.S. Senate's passage of Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), providers, families and communities should evaluate the act's impacts. The reform, S. 524, is viewed as a comprehensive approach...more

In the Line at Social Security, I Wonder, Have We Made It Too Easy to Quit?

One of the smartest, most perceptive persons I have ever had the good fortune to know, a gentleman from Worcester who has had a long and highly successful career in accounting and insurance, once said to me, “I’m willing to...more

FY2017 Massachusetts Budget Update: The Conference Committee Budget

Just before the close of the fiscal year, the House and Senate reached an agreement on a $39.146 billion state budget for FY17. Due to a recently identified $750 million drop in projected state revenue, the budget, which was...more

Manatt on Health Reform: Weekly Highlights - July 2016

Massachusetts extends coverage of Hepatitis C treatments and New Hampshire extends substance use disorder coverage to more Medicaid enrollees; Alaska’s Medicaid expansion now moves ahead uncontested; and CMS reports...more

Energy & Commerce Committee Approves Mental Health System Reform Bill

The House Energy & Commerce Committee has unanimously approved an amended version of H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, which is intended to reform the nation’s mental health care system. Among other...more

Certain Mental Health/Substance Abuse Plan Provisions Raise Red Flags

The Department of Labor has provided sample mental health/substance abuse (MH/SA) plan provisions that require scrutiny to determine compliance with the federal Mental Health Parity rules (MHPAEA). Here are some common red...more

House Approves Package of Bills to Address Opioid Epidemic

The House of Representatives has approved an amended version of S. 524, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which contains a wide-ranging collection of proposals to fight opioid abuse. The proposals were approved by...more

Health Law Insights Newsletter - Issue 9 - May 2016

NATIONAL - Medicare Proposes New Part B Payment System - The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on April 27 proposed a new rule that would transform Medicare Part B reimbursement to practitioners into...more

House Energy & Commerce Committee Approves Legislation to Address Opioid and Drug Abuse Epidemic

The House Energy & Commerce Committee has approved several more bipartisan public health bills, including a series of bills intended to combat opioid abuse and drug addiction. Specifically, the Committee approved...more

The IMD Exclusion: Changes Now and Changes to Come

On Monday, CMS finalized their long-awaited Medicaid managed care regulation. Deep in the regulation was a change to allow Medicaid reimbursement for facilities that had previously been excluded from receiving payments. ...more

Health Law Insights Newsletter - Issue 8 - April 2016

McCarter & English, LLP’s Health Care Group presents Issue 8 of the Health Law Insights, which discusses the latest legal issues in the health care industry. NATIONAL - New Payment Model for Part B Drugs Proposed -...more

Health Net Deepens Investigation of Addiction Treatment Centers

As noted in a blog posted earlier this year, addiction treatment providers have been receiving an increased number of requests from payors seeking a range of medical and billing records and other documentation concerning the...more

Legislative Update on Maine’s Substance Abuse Testing Law

In legislative news, a bill that would have implemented new changes to Maine’s substance abuse testing law has died after the House and Senate failed to agree on amendments to the bill from the Committee on Labor, Commerce,...more

CMS Issues Final 2017 Medicare Advantage Capitation Rates and Medicare Advantage/Part D Payment Policies

CMS has issued its final 2017 Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D Rate Announcement and Call Letter, which includes a series of policy and payment changes related to these programs. CMS estimates that the final policies will...more

Fighting Prescription Drug Abuse Gets a Little Easier for Florida Providers, Pharmacists

Pharmacies, dispensing prescribers, and certain healthcare facilities in Florida will soon have an easier time complying with controlled-substance reporting requirements. Florida established its Prescription Drug Monitoring...more

HHS Proposes Doubling the Buprenorphine Patient Cap to Expand Access to Opioid Dependence Treatment

HHS has proposed increasing from 100 to 200 the patient limit for qualified practitioners who prescribe buprenorphine-based medication-assisted treatment under the Controlled Substances Act to expand access to treatment for...more

Disclosure of Substance Use Disorder Records Enters the 21st Century: SAMHSA Proposes Changes to Part 2, But Do They Go Far...

Background - As many health care practitioners, health information management professionals, and health lawyers know, balancing patients’ privacy interests with the need to access accurate, up-to-date medical information can...more

Four Distinct Federal and State Policies Addressing Prescription Opioid Abuse

The first quarter of 2016 has witnessed a great deal of attention in government to the problem of opioid-related overdose and death in the United States. In just the past few weeks, the Senate passed prescription drug...more

A&B Healthcare Week in Review

I. REGULATIONS, NOTICES, & GUIDANCE - On March 29, 2016, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule entitled, “Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs: Mental Health Parity and...more

N.C. DHHS Announces Timeline for LME/MCO Mergers

In a letter dated March 17, 2016, Richard Brajer, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, announced that the Local Management Entity-Managed Care Organization (“LME/MCO”) merger process would...more

CMS Finalizes MHPAEA Mental Health/Substance Abuse Disorder Parity Rules for Medicaid Managed Care and Alternative Benefit Plans,...

CMS has released its final rule to apply provisions of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA) to Medicaid beneficiaries who receive services through managed care organizations or alternative...more

First Circuit Upholds Defense Verdict in Diet Drug Case

Happy Birthday, Eric Clapton. (March 30 is also the birthday of painters Goya and Van Gogh. Is there something about March 30 that breeds people who turn their blues into art?) Clapton has been around so long it is easy to...more

Protecting Alcoholics, Preventing Alcohol Misuse and Distinguishing Between the Two

It has long been clear that the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) protects alcoholism if it qualifies as a “disability.”1  That said, courts have consistently held that employers can have legitimate work rules...more

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