November 2, 2022
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its Outpatient Hospital and Surgical Center Payment System Final Rule, introducing additional measures to improve access to behavioral health services. Under the final rule, clinical staff of hospital outpatient departments will be allowed to provide behavioral health services remotely to patients in their homes. The policy was first introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic. By making it permanent, the agency will “ensure access to behavioral health services particularly for rural and other underserved communities, furthering health equity goals.” The rule also enhances payment for non-opioid pain management drugs and biologics to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries have access to non-opioid pain management drugs and encourages providers to use non-opioids rather than opioids for pain management. (Press release here)