Recently, the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a new report on opioid-related drug poisonings and deaths in Medicare beneficiaries. The report found that in 2021, over 50,000 Medicare Part D beneficiaries experienced an overdose from prescription opioids, illicit opioids, or both. The report also found that of the 1.1 million Part D beneficiaries diagnosed with an opioid use disorder (OUD), less than one–fifth of patients were receiving treatment.
Thus, the OIG called on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to take the following actions:
- Improve beneficiaries’ access to drug poisoning treatments, OUD treatments, and naloxone;
- Expedite efforts to implement a new Behavior Health Strategy, which strives to increase access to behavioral health care and substance use disorders prevention, treatment, and recovery;
- Improve outreach to beneficiaries regarding Medicare coverage of OUD treatments;
- Increase the number of providers and opioid treatment programs available to Medicare beneficiaries with OUD; and
- Increase access to telehealth services.
For more information, read the full report here.