Are you familiar with the SUPPORT Act and EKRA?

Not one to shy away from lengthy acronyms, Congress passed the SUPPORT Act (Substance Use Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment) a couple of years ago. What is it? The Act is an attempt to manage various issues related to the opioid crisis through a series of more than 70 separate bills.(1)

Some important highlights of paramount importance to providers include:

  • States must establish a qualifying prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) and require healthcare providers to check the PDMP for an enrollee’s prescription drug history before prescribing controlled substances. There has been a great deal of discussion about the ability for physicians and pharmacies to track usage in other states as well.
  • The bill increases the maximum number of patients that healthcare providers may initially treat with a medication-assisted treatment plan
  • The Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act (EKRA) is one of the SUPPORT Act’s related bills. This tightens up the laws that make it a federal crime to receive/offer illegal remunerations for patient referrals to recovery homes, clinical treatment facilities, and laboratories.(2)

As with any legislation, there are still issues regarding the applicability of the Act to unrelated arrangements in the healthcare industry that could otherwise be structured to comply with existing federal law.(3) Additionally, EKRA has been criticized as being overly broad and ambiguous.(4)

New laws usually result in new issues for healthcare providers. The more time providers spend trying to figure out what the government wants them to do, the less time they have to dedicate to patient care. What can you do to protect yourself from the potential liability surrounding these new laws? Education is of vital importance, as is ensuring that your risk mitigation plan addresses these issues.

Contact us today. We can help you make sense of these and other laws that affect your risk management plan.


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