In an op-ed published in Morning Consult, AMA Immediate Past President Patrice A. Harris, MD, MA, wrote that there remains an urgent need to remove health insurers’ barriers to evidence-based treatment for patients with pain and substance-use disorders, enforcing mental health and substance-use disorder parity, and other actions necessary if the epidemic is going to end.
Dr. Harris called for further steps to be taken to prevent the opioid epidemic from worsening. These state-level measures include:
- Adopting the new SAMHSA and DEA rules and guidance for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, which includes being able to use telemedicine to evaluate and prescribe.
- Removing prior authorization, step therapy and other administrative barriers for medicines used to treat opioid use disorder.
- Removing arbitrary dose, quantity and refill restrictions and other barriers to controlled substances so pain patients can get needed medications.
- Enacting, implementing and supporting harm-reduction strategies, including removing barriers to sterile needle and syringe services programs and increasing access to naloxone.
Source: American Medical Association