Responding to a request from Senate Finance Committee leaders for policy recommendations to address the opioid epidemic, AHA urged the committee Friday to preserve health insurance coverage through the exchanges and Medicaid, which provide substance use disorder treatment benefits for a substantial number of Americans, and report out legislation to end the Institutions for Mental Disease exclusion. “This exclusion prohibits Medicaid from paying for care for patients between ages 21 and 64 who are hospitalized in inpatient psychiatric hospitals, thus making it extremely challenging for those of limited means to receive effective treatment for substance use disorders,” noted AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels. Among other policy changes, AHA encouraged Congress to support the Protecting Jessica Grubb’s Legacy Act (S. 1850), which would fully align 42 CFR Part 2 regulations with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act; enhance enforcement of mental health parity in health coverage; incentivize medication-assisted treatment training for providers; and consider dedicated funding to promote interstate data sharing among prescription drug monitoring programs and providers.

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