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AMA: District of Columbia takes important step to reverse opioid epidemic

Friday, April 5, 2019  
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  April 5, 2019

 

District of Columbia takes important step to reverse opioid epidemic

 

CHICAGO –

The Medical Society of the District of Columbia (MSDC) and the American Medical Association (AMA) applauded the mayor’s office today for removing prior authorization for medications to treat opioid use disorder. The decision from the D.C. Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF) applies to patients receiving Medicaid and is effective immediately.

 

“This action will save lives,” said Patrice A. Harris, M.D., MA, president-elect of the American Medical Association and chair of the AMA Opioid Task Force. “We commend the leadership shown by Mayor Muriel Bowser, DHCF Director Wayne Turnage and Medicaid Director Melisa Byrd. Now it’s time for commercial health insurance companies to follow suit and remove prior authorization for medication assisted treatment [MAT].”

 

“Prior authorization for MAT can lead to delays and denials of care that have deadly consequences,” said Raymond Tu, MD, MS, MSDC president. “This will have a direct and immediate effect on improving patient care in the District.”

 

Added Director Byrd: “The evidence was clear to us that removing restrictions on access to MAT was essential to helping end the District’s opioid epidemic,” said Director Byrd. “This action supports the Live. Long. DC. opioid strategy to reduce regulatory barriers to treatment. We will work to implement this quickly with the District’s physicians and patient community to increase access to this life-saving medication.”

 
See the AMA Press Release

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For more information:

 

AMA media contact

Jack Deutsch

P: (202) 789-7442

Jack.Deutsch@ama-assn.org

 

 

MSDC media contact

Pia Duryea         

Medical Society of the District of Columbia          

P: (202) 355-9414

duryea@msdc.org

 

About the AMA

The American Medical Association is the powerful ally and unifying voice for America’s physicians, the patients they serve, and the promise of a healthier nation. The AMA attacks the dysfunction in health care by removing obstacles and burdens that interfere with patient care. It reimagines medical education, training, and lifelong learning for the digital age to help physicians grow at every stage of their careers, and it improves the health of the nation by confronting the increasing chronic disease burden. For more information, visit ama-assn.org.


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