CPNP members traveled to the Washington, D.C. area in May to meet with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as well as with key heath care committee members in Congress. Visits were intended to educate legislative and regulatory policymakers on the value of psychiatric pharmacists and the impact they make on improved patient outcomes. Utilizing CPNP’s issue briefs and our infographic on psychiatric pharmacists, CPNP members advocated for inclusion of pharmacists on the treatment team, payment for pharmacist services, and increased involvement and autonomy in treating individuals living with severe mental illness as well as neurologic and substance use disorders. A shout out to CPNP President Megan Ehret, President Elect Lisa Goldstone, and CPNP Past President and Government Affairs Council Chair Carla Cobb for meeting with over a dozen Hill offices.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a final rule aimed at addressing rising drug prices and out-of-pocket expenses under Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage. Notably, the final rule did not include previously-proposed measures that would have provided exceptions to Medicare’s “six protected classes,” a policy that ensures beneficiaries with complex health conditions, including mental illness, have access to a full range of medication treatment options. The announcement comes after six months of opposition to the proposals from Members of Congress and patient and provider advocates, including CPNP as members of the Partnership for Part D Access. View the coalition press release here.
On May 7, CPNP President Megan Ehret and President-Elect Lisa Goldstone met with Representative Tonko’s office and learned more about the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act – H.R. 2482 introduced by Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY), Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-NY), Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC), Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Rep. Michael Turner (R-OH). CPNP has signed on as a supporter of this act. This act would eliminate the redundant and outdated requirement that practitioners apply for a separate waiver through the DEA to prescribe buprenorphine for the treatment of substance use disorder. Practitioners are already required to obtain a license to prescribe controlled substances and meet any state-level requirements to prescribe buprenorphine. The additional wavier requirement on top of this simply serves to stigmatize substance use treatment and sends a message to the medical community that they lack the knowledge or ability to effectively treat a patient with substance use disorder. By removing this outdated barrier, treatment access will be exponentially expanded, and medical professionals will be able to more easily integrate the treatment of substance use disorder into primary care settings similar to how other chronic diseases are managed. Removing the additional registration requirement for buprenorphine prescribers has the potential to be a game changer in terms of reducing overdose deaths.