Statement attributable to:
Patrice A. Harris, M.D.
Chair, American Medical Association Opioid Task Force and Immediate Past Chair of the AMA Board of Trustees

“This new report from the Addiction Solutions Campaign reveals the significant challenges that patients face when seeking treatment for a substance use disorder. This report makes it clear that health insurers and regulators need to take a hard look at their legal obligations to ensure that patients receive the full benefits of existing parity laws covering mental health and substance use disorders.

“While we recognize that some insurers have made steps to remove prior authorization for medication assisted treatment, for example, this report should be a wake-up call that too many patients face significant hurdles in accessing care.

“When a patient seeking care for an opioid use disorder is forced to delay or interrupt ongoing treatment because of a health plan utilization management coverage restriction—such as prior authorization—that can be harmful to their care and health. With respect to opioid use disorders, that could mean relapse or death from overdose.

“Increasing access to treatment is an essential component of reversing the nation’s opioid epidemic. We hope this report spurs insurers and regulators to act. The AMA is ready to work with them and all stakeholders to advance policies that will help our patients.”

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Jack Deutsch

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