The US Senate, in proposed legislation, advocated for greater reimbursement for device-based opioid alternatives.

Language buried in the Senate’s fiscal 2020 Labor-HHS appropriations report, released Wednesday, directs CMS to boost Medicare reimbursement for device-based opioid alternatives. The appropriations legislation, which has been mired in a dispute between Republicans and Democrats over abortion policy and related funding for construction of the border wall, does not appear to have immediate support for passage. House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., introduced a continuing resolution Wednesday, which Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Leahy, D-Vt., threw support behind, but the prospect of the proposal remains uncertain.

In the Proposed Rule for the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System, CMS’ indicated they did not intend to increase reimbursements for device alternatives to opioid prescriptions.

Now Congress is getting involved, with the largely Republican-shaped report expressing concern “certain non-opioid alternatives are not adequately reimbursed by the Medicare program.” It is unclear which lawmakers supported the inclusion of the language.

“The Committee encourages CMS to consider payment adjustment through the calendar year 2020 Outpatient Prospective Payment System rulemaking for non-opioid devices consistent with section 6082 of the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act,” the report states.

Read the draft legislation here.

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