News & Perspectives

CMS issues new guidance on using Medicaid health IT to reduce opioid risks

14. June 2018 Tom Entrikin Health

On June 11, 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued new guidance to state Medicaid directors about how states can harness Medicaid health information technology to combat the opioid crisis. CMS encourages states to pursue strategies such as enhanced prescription drug monitoring programs, drug utilization review programs, and opioid risk assessment tools, which can be integrated into electronic health record systems, health information exchanges, and Medicaid management information systems. 

CMS outlines the importance of rapidly identifying Medicaid beneficiaries at risk of opioid dependency to ensure that they can access appropriate care coordination, pain management, counseling, and medication-assisted therapy when needed. CMS also offers guidance on how states can make such critical services more readily available to patients in remote locations via telemedicine that can be covered under the state Medicaid plan.  

CMS provides updated guidance on how states can appropriately claim 90 percent Federal financial participation (FFP) for opioid-related improvements in electronic health records systems; 90 percent FFP for the design, development, and implementation of Medicaid management information system (MMIS) enhancements; and 75 percent FFP for state expenditures on maintenance and operations of such MMIS enhancements.   

The letter to state Medicaid directors is available here.

Additional information about the on-going federal response to the opioid crisis is available here.