Help Is on the Way: Medicare Coverage of Opioid Treatment Programs.J Am Geriatr Soc 2019JA
Opioid use disorder (OUD) among older adults has been increasing, yet evidence still remains scarce for age-specific treatment. We discuss the three US Food and Drug Administration-approved medications used to treat OUD (methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone) and consider evidence gaps in OUD treatment in older adults. Legislation passed in 2018 (the Substance Use Disorder Prevention That Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act [also known as the SUPPORT Act]) expanded Medicare coverage to include bundled payment for OUD treatment through opioid treatment programs, permitting coverage of methadone treatment for the first time. Since the policy change will take effect in January 2020, healthcare providers need to be aware of new opportunities for treatment when caring for older adult patients with OUD.