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New Medicare Safety Policies Address Opioid Epidemic

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services introduced new Medicare Part D opioid safety policies aimed at reducing prescription opioid misuse while preserving medically necessary access to these medications. Included in the new policies are improved safety alerts at the pharmacy for Part D beneficiaries who are filling their initial opioid prescription or are receiving high doses of prescription opioids. Specifically, "Medicare drug plans will perform additional safety checks by sending pharmacies an alert to review certain opioid prescriptions before they are filled." 

Additionally, the new policies permit Part D plans to set up drug management programs to help beneficiaries safely use opioids and other frequently abused medications. The opioid safety policies are intended to "encourage collaboration and care coordination among Medicare drug plans, pharmacies, prescribers and patients, in order to improve opioid management, prevent opioid misuse and promote safer prescribing practices." 

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