CMS Pushing 7-Day Limit on Initial Opioid Scripts

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To help combat opioid misuse in the baby-boomer population that is reaching senior status, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is proposing that beginning in 2019, initial opioid prescriptions for acute pain be limited to 7 days.

Alicia Ault (@aliciaault) at Medscape provides a thoughtful overview.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is proposing that beginning in 2019, initial opioid prescriptions for acute pain be limited to 7 days.

The agency is also suggesting in the 2018 Draft Call Letter that Medicare Part D prescription drug plans monitor patients who take medications considered to be “potentiators” of opioid misuse and opioid-related adverse events — specifically, gabapentin and pregabalin.

Noting an alarming increase in gabapentin use to treat pain and concurrent opioid and gabapentin use, CMS is asking for comment on whether it is useful to more closely monitor beneficiaries receiving these prescriptions.

The CMS proposal came as a US House committee took a closer look at Medicare’s oversight of opioid use. At the February 6 hearing, members of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee said there are few data on opioid use among older Americans and that Medicare has done a poor job of encouraging prevention and treatment.

“With 10,000 baby boomers joining Medicare each day, we must harness innovation, technology and data to get ahead of this problem,” said Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam (R-IL). “Unfortunately, there is a lack of available data regarding the Medicare population and the extent to which opioid abuse, overprescribing, and diversion is an issue for seniors and the disabled,” he said.

That echoed an October 2017 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, which found that Part D plans are not sufficiently identifying and helping beneficiaries at high risk for opioid misuse. CMS established its overutilization monitoring system (OMS) in 2013, but opioid misuse continues, and thousands of baby boomers are being added to the Medicare rolls daily…

→ Full article: Medscape: CMS Pushing 7-Day Limit on Initial Opioid Scripts

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