Congress includes several addiction health programs in end-of-year spending deal

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Congress included several addiction-related provisions in its recent spending package for fiscal year 2021.

These provisions include appropriating $29.7 million for the Mental and Substance Use Disorder Workforce Training Demonstration program; appropriating $16 million for the Loan Repayment Program for Substance Use Disorder Treatment Workforce; requiring group health plans and health insurance issuers to conduct comparative analyses of mental health and substance use disorder benefits; and including 1,000 new Medicare-supported graduate medical education positions. Congress also appropriated billions of dollars to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration mental health and addiction treatment programs.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine applauds the bill’s passage, saying it will create parity in mental health and substance use disorder benefits and strengthen the addiction treatment workforce.

“The next Congress must make strategic investments and bolder policy changes that will continue to strengthen America’s addiction treatment workforce and build an evidence-based, addiction prevention and treatment infrastructure,” ASAM President Paul H. Earley said. “For starters, next steps should include the permanent elimination of the DATA 2000 x-waiver to prescribe buprenorphine for opioid use disorder and ensuring DEA controlled medication prescribers have a baseline knowledge of how to assess and treat patients with addiction.”

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