AMA Opioid Task Force Recommendations Offer Roadmap to Policymakers
The task force's new
recommendations focus on barriers to treatment for substance use disorder and
pain and other policies that result in so few patients receiving care. These
include prior authorization, step therapy and other administrative burdens as
well as inadequate enforcement of state and federal parity laws.
[from AMA Advocacy Update]
The AMA Opioid Task Force released recommendations
calling on policymakers to eliminate barriers to treatment and to take
additional steps to end the nation's opioid epidemic. The task
force's new recommendations focus on barriers to treatment for
substance use disorder (SUD) and pain and other policies that result in
so few patients receiving care. These include prior authorization,
step therapy and other administrative burdens as well as inadequate
enforcement of state and federal laws that require insurance parity for
mental health and SUDs.
"We need help from policymakers to ensure that more people have
access to treatment. Physicians are responding to the epidemic and we
are seeing results: a 33% reduction in opioid prescribing since 2013,
increased use of prescription drug monitoring programs, enhanced
education and greater co-prescribing of naloxone," said AMA
President-elect Patrice A. Harris, MD, MA, who also is chair of the
task force. "But we cannot enforce parity laws, or eliminate
administrative barriers without the help of state and federal
authorities, and that's what's limiting treatment now."
The new recommendations:
- Remove prior authorization, step therapy and other
inappropriate administrative burdens or barriers that delay or deny
care for U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medications
used as part of medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder.
- Support assessment, referral and treatment for co-occurring
mental health disorders, as well as enforce state and federal laws that
require insurance parity for mental health and substance use
- Remove administrative and other barriers to comprehensive,
multimodal, multidisciplinary pain care and rehabilitation programs.
- Support maternal and child health by increasing access to
evidence-based treatment, preserving families and ensuring that
policies are nonpunitive.
- Support reforms in the civil and criminal justice system that
help ensure access to high quality, evidence-based care for opioid use
disorder, including medication-assisted treatment.
"The original task force recommendations called on physicians to
accept the responsibility to take a leadership role in ending the
epidemic," Dr. Harris said. "Yet, more people are dying each year,
emphasizing the need for policymakers to protect patients' access to
evidence-based care for pain and for opioid use disorder."
The original task force recommendations, issued in 2015, focused on actions that physicians could take to help end the epidemic:
- Register for and use state prescription drug monitoring program
- Enhance education and training on effective, evidence-based treatment
- Support comprehensive care for patients in pain and those with a substance use disorder
- Remove stigma. Patients with pain and with a substance use disorder deserve comprehensive care and compassion, not judgment.
- Expand access to naloxone in the community and through co-prescribing
- Encourage safe storage and disposal of opioids and all medications
The AMA Opioid Task Force is comprised of the American Medical
Association, American Osteopathic Association, and 25 specialty and
state medical societies as well as the American Dental Association.
Learn more about what the AMA is doing to end the opioid epidemic at end-opioid-epidemic.org.