Bipartisan Senators propose eTREAT Act, a telehealth bill for addiction treatment

A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill in late May to waive Medicare's originating site restrictions for telehealth when treating substance abuse disorders.

The Expanding Telehealth Response to Ensure Addiction Treatment Act (S. 2901) was introduced by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and sponsored by Mark Warner, D-Va., Ben Cardin, D-Md., John Cornyn, R-Texas, Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, and Roger Wicker, R-Mo.

The bill would amend a portion of the Social Security Act, allowing Medicare beneficiaries to use telehealth to receive treatment for opioid use disorder and other substance use disorders.

On behalf of its Opioid Safety Alliance, Health IT Now, a coalition of patient groups, provider organizations, employers and payers supporting the adoption and use of health technology, wrote a letter of support for the bill.

"Outdated laws and regulations prevent healthcare providers from using technology to provide care to most [Medicare] beneficiaries. The [eTREAT] Act is an important step in utilizing technology to combat the opioid epidemic by removing these statutory barriers. This would allow Medicare beneficiaries to receive treatment when and where they need it — ensuring providers are able to be with patients at the time of their most critical need," the endorsement letter reads.

More articles on telehealth:
CareClix joins forces with e-prescribing software firm
VA taps 1Vision, AMC Health to provide telehealth services
Adventist Health rolls out Teladoc's telehealth services to employees

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