In the context of the national opioid epidemic, the demand for treating Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) and Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) continues growing, especially in older populations. The impact of medical comorbidities, cognitive impairment, and neurobehavioral changes associated with the disorder contributes to the poor well-being of older adults (Cotton, Bryson, & Bruce, 2018). Because of this, including the coverage for OUD and MMT in Medicare is essential for reducing the burden of disease while also alleviating the financial pressure on the target population. Under the House Committee Rules regarding substance-use disorder prevention that promotes opioid recovery and treatment for patients and communities, the capacity of Medicaid to treat the substance-use disorder is to be increased (“H.R.6 – Support for patients and communities act,” 2018). The bill should be supported because of the ruling that state Medicaid programs must establish the requirements for drug review and utilization as well as safety measures for the subsequent opioid prescription. In addition, it extends to include a federal matching rate for expenditures concerning substance use disorders within Medicaid’s health-home services.
The support for extending Medicaid’s coverage of treating OUD and MMT lies in the urgent need to address the opioid crisis through systematic efforts, such as regular wellness visits or drug management programs for at-risk individuals, and the attention to the financial aspect of care (Huhn, 2018). The at-risk older adult population is financially vulnerable and is less likely to adhere to treatment through self-care independently. The guidance provided by Medicare-supported drug use disorder interventions is essential for a systematic approach toward health management as well as the increased control over how substances are being used, disseminated, and disposed.
Cotton, B. P., Bryson, W. C., & Bruce, M. L. (2018). Methadone maintenance treatment for older adults: Cost and logistical considerations. Psychiatric Services, 69(3), 338-340. Web.
H.R.6 – Support for patients and communities act. (2018). Web.
Huhn A. S. (2018). Serious about the opioid epidemic? Expand Medicaid. Medical Care, 56(5), 455. Web.