As the number of opioid-related deaths exceeded 1000 this year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced recently the state law reform plans to combat opioid addiction. As part of the legislative package he signed this year, the reform plans are directed to health insurance companies, physicians, and hospital services.
Due to the urgent nature of drug addiction and the soaring overdose deaths as reported earlier, the state of New York is leading the health reforms and have set it to be implemented as soon as January 1.
To better help patients suffering from opioid addiction, the new state reform law is unprecedented in its scope and financial resources.
First of all, it requires all health insurance companies to expand coverage for addiction treatment. Second, it increases access to treatment by removing burdensome barriers in health services. Third, it modifies prevention strategies in the community to improve education about heroin and opioid addiction. Lastly, it strengthens the limitation of prescribing opioids in New York as reported in Kings County Politics.
Opioid addiction dominates top 10 of the most overdosed drug deaths in the U.S. this year as announced by the Centers of Communicable Diseases (CDC). Fentanyl is the most commonly used synthetic opioid by most addicts and it is ten times more potent than morphine. Often used in surgery, it is illicitly obtained by most users.
To cut down on overdosed deaths and also to manage the opioid addiction epidemic, the state reforms focuses on increasing health services and social support to the patients and their loved ones.
According to Ny1, the health plans specifically allow for health insurance to cover for immediate inpatient treatment as long as it is needed. It also dictates that approval is no longer needed from health insurers on what emergency supplies are used for the emergency treatment.
Furthermore, it requires health insurance companies to cover the cost of Naloxone, an antidote for opioid intoxication. With regards to the role of physicians, they are required to undergo ongoing education on addiction and pain management treatment. They're also limited to prescribing opioid pain relief from 30 days to 7 days only.
With the expansive health reforms in place, the state of New York hopes to take the lead in stamping out the problems of opioid addiction that has plagued the country recently.