US President Donald Trump signed the SUPPORT Act into law on October 24, 2018, in a culmination of a two-year bipartisan effort by lawmakers across multiple committees in both the House and Senate. Law360 published an article on October 25, 2018, by the Morgan Lewis healthcare team that takes a first look at the sweeping new opioid law.
Among significant Medicare changes, the SUPPORT Act allows for bundled payment for medication-assisted treatment and requires Part D plans to establish drug management programs for at-risk beneficiaries. It also expands the use of telehealth services under Medicare for the treatment of opioid abuse and identifies telehealth as an option for treating substance use disorders under Medicaid.
The SUPPORT Act incorporates provisions to bolster program integrity including a new criminal felony referral prohibition, the Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act of 2018 (EKRA) to combat patient brokering activities and abusive payment arrangements for opioid treatment services. Another provision expands the definition of “covered recipient” under the Physician Payments in Sunshine Act to physician assistants and nurse practitioners, among others.
Notably, the provisions impacting the Medicaid program center around prevention, screening, and treatment of pregnant women and children. Provisions related to drug disposal options and access to collections and disposal sites also figure prominently in the new law.