U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over Medicare and Medicaid, today applauded the committee’s bipartisan passage of the Helping to End Addiction and Lessen (HEAL) Substance Use Disorder Act, which included his Expanding Telehealth Response to Ensure Addiction Treatment (e-TREAT) Act, bipartisan legislation that would increase access to substance use disorder (SUD) treatment through telehealth technology under Medicare. The bill is expected to be included in a larger package that incorporates legislation from other committees, including Thune’s Commerce Committee-passed Fighting Opioid Abuse in Transportation Act, aimed at combating substance use disorder.
“Although we still have work ahead of us in combatting opioid and substance abuse, the committee’s passage of the HEAL Substance Use Disorder Act is an important step forward,” said Thune. “I am glad that the e-TREAT Act’s inclusion will expand access to services, and I appreciate the committee’s effort to promote awareness for non-opioid pain management alternatives across South Dakota and the rest of the country.”
Thune has long advocated for the use of telehealth as a means to increase access to health care services in rural communities, like those throughout South Dakota. In addition to the e-TREAT Act, several other Thune co-sponsored, bipartisan provisions were wrapped into the final bill, including the Medicaid SUD Treatment via Telehealth Act, the Telehealth for Children’s Access to Services and Treatment (TeleCAST) Act, the Enhancing Patient Access to Non-Opioid Treatment Options Act, and the Comprehensive Screenings for Seniors Act.