Governor Wolf Accelerates Access to Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder (Round-up)

On Thursday, March 1, Governor Wolf continued his fight against the opioid epidemic when he announced an initiative to remove barriers for people receiving medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder.

The governor announced that Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program will be waiving prior authorization requirements for evidence-based opioid use disorder treatments. These FDA-approved MATs, when combined with counseling and behavioral therapies, are proven strategies for reducing addiction relapse and improving the chance for recovery.

“If even one person is delayed access to the treatment they need, it is one person too many,” Governor Wolf said. “Over the coming months, my administration will be reaching out to each of the commercial payers and the Medicaid managed care organizations to begin discussions around similar policies with the goal of creating consistency in coverage across the health care sector in Pennsylvania.”

This initiative builds on steps the governor has already taken to address this looming public health issue. He has implemented 45 centers of excellence that will treat nearly 11,000 people with substance abuse disorder, signed Pennsylvania’s Statewide Disaster Declaration to enhance statewide response, and equipped law enforcement, first responders, and schools with the overdose-reversing antidote naloxone. For a full list of what Governor Wolf has done to combat this epidemic, visit the governor’s Action Plan for Pennsylvania here.

The American Medical Association recently sent a letter to all state Attorneys General pledging its support (and promising to advocate) for all states and payers removing prior authorization policies for ALL medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Read the AMA letter here.

Take a look at the coverage below:

  • Delaware County Daily Times: Wolf cuts Medicaid barriers to addiction treatment

    Gov. Tom Wolf is dropping Medicaid’s pre-authorization requirements that are needed for people to receive addiction treatment. Wolf made the announcement during a press conference at the First Steps Treatment Center in the Crozer-Chester Medical Center Thursday. The move will drop the barrier to medication-assisted treatment (MATs) which has previously withheld access for up to 24 hours before authorization is approved.
    “What I’m announcing here is that we’re going to take practical steps to try to make sure that substance abuse disorder sufferers get the treatment, whatever they need,” said Wolf. “Especially if it’s medication-assisted treatment, that they get that as quickly as possible, and that we do, practically, what we can to eliminate whatever red tape will keep them from getting that.”

  • WFMZ: Gov. Wolf takes aim at opioid epidemic with policy changes

    Gov. Tom Wolf announced plans Thursday to eliminate barriers that delayed medication-assisted treatment to people detoxing from the drug. It’s all part of the governor’s disaster declaration to combat the opioid problem. Since early January, he and a team of people have been working to curb the problem. He said this newest part of the plan will save even more lives. “We should not lose a single life to this disease,” said Wolf.

  • Courier Express: Wolf to end policies that delay opioid treatment

    At a press conference at Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland on Thursday, Gov. Tom Wolf announced an initiative to remove barriers to people receiving medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder. The governor followed the announcement with a tour of the Crozer-Keystone Health System’s First Steps Treatment Center, one year into operation to provide holistic residential treatment for substance use disorder.

  • Gov. Wolf to announce Medicaid change aimed at opioid treatment

    In an effort to help people get faster treatment for opioid addiction, the state will remove a pre-authorization requirement for Medicaid recipients prescribed some types of medication helpful for recovery, Gov. Wolf is expected to announce Thursday.
    “If even one person is delayed access to the treatment they need, it is one person too many,” Wolf, a Democrat, said in a statement. The governor will also ask private insurers to consider making similar changes, according to sources familiar with his plans. He does not have jurisdiction over Medicare, which runs through the federal government.


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