HITN's Opioid Safety Alliance Lauds Senate Introduction of the eTREAT Act

WASHINGTON, DC (May 22, 2018): Health IT Now's Opioid Safety Alliance - a working group of prescribers, dispensers, professional societies, and patients advocating for the use of technology to fight illegitimate opioid use - praised the Senate introduction of the Expanding Telehealth Response to Ensure Addiction Treatment (eTREATAct.

The legislation, sponsored by Senators John Thune (R-SD), Mark Warner (D-VA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), John Cornyn (R-TX), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Roger Wicker (R-MO), would waive originating site restrictions on Medicare reimbursement for telehealth treatment of substance abuse disorders. 

HITN's Opioid Safety Alliance called for such measures as part of its five-point, technology-enabled plan to combat the opioid crisis, which says in part, "Telehealth and digital virtual peer support programs should be fully leveraged to provide substance use disorder treatment options. Congress ... and the administration should knock down regulatory barriers to providing treatment virtually." 

HITN Opioid Safety Alliance Executive Director Joel White released the following statement: 

"The Medicare population has among the fastest-growing rates of opioid use disorder and the program remains unacceptably slow in embracing the power of technology to solve this crisis,"said HITN Opioid Safety Alliance Executive Director Joel White. "We know that telehealth can bridge the gap of distance and stigma by allowing beneficiaries to receive care when and where they need it, but inflexible bureaucratic restrictions are putting that possibility out of reach for too many. This bipartisan legislation will right that wrong and expand access to treatment via telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries struggling under the weight of addiction. Health IT Now thanks Senators Thune, Warner, Cardin, Cornyn, Schatz, and Wicker for their commitment to leveraging the power of technology to treat and prevent the scourge of opioid misuse. We look forward to working with them to advance these and other critical solutions to this nationwide epidemic."