Posted: January 08, 2020
In a recent ruling, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced new Common Procedural Technology (CPT) codes for a variety of telehealth covered services, including for the treatment of opioid abuse disorder. This move, long sought after by medical professionals, opens the door for telemedicine treatment by Let’s Talk Interactive to be more readily available to fight the growing opioid crisis in the United States as another treatment option for both physicians and patients.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 1999-2017, more than 700,000 people died from a drug overdose in our nation, with the number of those who died of opioid overdose in 2017 being six times the number of those who died of opioid overdose in 1999. Today, on average, 130 people die every day from opioid overdoses specifically.
By providing the ability for physicians to now utilize these new CPT codes for telehealth services, Let’s Talk Interactive is on the forefront of how telemedicine technology can be used to combat the opioid crisis. Through research, it has been suggested, “... that telehealth [treatment] is generally equal in effectiveness to traditional forms of treatment, especially for those individuals struggling with substance abuse problems.”
Let’s Talk Interactive provides a range of telehealth services for those struggling with opioid abuse disorder, including technological connectedness via video sessions, virtual supervision, tele-counseling, and others, all of which are easier to access, for example, for those who struggle with transportation following detox and rehabilitation, or those who return to a close-knit community that might not provide the support needed to maintain sobriety. It has also been shown that tele-medicine creates just as similar to a therapeutic relationship as in-person counseling sessions.
According to an article written for mHealth Intelligence on November 12, 2019, the new CPT codes include: “HCPCS code G2086, covering at least 70 minutes during the first calendar month of office-based treatment for opioid use disorder, including development of the treatment plan, care coordination, individual therapy and group therapy and counseling; HCPCS code G2087, covering at least 60 minutes in a subsequent calendar month of office-based treatment for opioid use disorder, including care coordination, individual therapy and group therapy and counseling; and.HCPCS code G2088, covering each additional 30 minutes beyond the first two hours of office-based treatment for opioid use disorder, including care coordination, individual therapy and group therapy and counseling (filed alongside the code for a primary procedure).” Note that HCPCS codes are used within Medicare and Medicaid coding.
So what does this mean for those individuals who are struggling with an opioid abuse disorder? A better, easier, and more accessible pathway to sobriety and positive, healthy behaviors are now available to them. Let’s Talk Interactive has long been on the forefront of telemedicine - with the addition of these new CPT codes, access to counseling, support, and the future will be available to all individuals, regardless of economic and domestic situations.