Department of Veterans Affairs looking for public comment on eliminating copay for opioid antagonists

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The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is accepting public comment on proposed rule changes concerning co-payments and opioids for veterans at high risk of overdose.

In response to changes to legislation by Congress, the VA is proposing to eliminate the copayment requirement for opioid antagonists given to veterans who are at high risk of overdose. Opioid antagonists reverse the effects of an opioid overdose quickly and can be life-saving medications for those taking opioids.

The VA is also proposing that the department eliminate the co-pay on any educational efforts on how to use the opioid antagonists.

In a posting on the Federal Register, the VA currently does not charge a copay for educational visits to learn how to use opioid antagonists. However, the proposed rule change, it said, would codify the practice.

Additionally, the rule change identified who the VA would consider to be someone at high risk of overdose. Those individuals included: a veteran with an opioid or substance use disorder diagnosis; a veteran receiving treatment for opioid or substance use disorder; a veteran with a history of prescription opioid misuse; a veteran with a history of opioid overdoses; a veteran with any of those conditions who has been in a period of abstinence from opioids.

Comments should be submitted through the www.regulations.gov portal and should be received before Jan. 5, 2021. All comments will be available for viewing by the public.

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