Among other opioids controlling measures, in 2018, Congress passed the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act, P.L. 115-271, which contained several proposals to combat the epidemic. A key provision of that act directs the HHS to review and adjust payments under the Medicare Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System and ASC Payment System to “avoid financial incentives to use opioids instead of non-opioid alternative treatments.” Also in 2018, ASCA supported a regulatory proposal put forth by CMS that would unpackage and pay separately for the cost of non-opioid pain management drugs that function as surgical supplies when they are furnished in the ASC. CMS finalized this policy in the final rule for calendar year 2019 payments to ASCs.
Opioids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are the main driver of drug overdose deaths and accounted for 47,600 deaths in 2017 alone. Additionally, the CDC estimates that the economic costs associated with prescription opioid misuse exceed $78 billion annually.
ASCs play an important role in innovating healthcare delivery, and ASCA uses its position as an industry leader to give its members tools to stay at the forefront of their practice areas and provide their community with the best possible care. Over the last few years, both the association and federal policy makers have paid attention to combatting the opioid epidemic.
A variety of ASCA annual conference sessions and webinars have focused on the epidemic, best practices related to opioids and the various options available to practitioners who want to reduce the use of opioid-based medications. On the federal level, ASCA supports a comprehensive, national response aimed at resolving the current crisis through a combination of addiction prevention, early intervention and treatment, disease management and recovery support.
For more information or questions, write Steven Selde, ASCA’s assistant director of government and legislative affairs; and visit ASCA's Opioids Resource Center.