AATOD Letter to Secretary Burwell

Please see letter below sent to the Honorable Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary of the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from Mark  W. Parrino, AATOD President.

Burwell_Letter 8-13-14 | Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Weekly August 11 2014


Dear Secretary Burwell,

I am writing you pursuant to correspondence that you had received, dated June
26,2014 from five US Senators. They were discussing their concerns about
untreated opioid addiction in the United States, and indicated that the
Department might have the ability to raise the patient cap for DATA 2000
practices without Congressional authorization.

I understand that the Department will be considering a number of policymaking
initiatives in order to respond to the current public health crisis of untreated
opioid addiction in our country, including the use of buprenorphine products in
certified DATA 2000 practices and Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs). At the
present time, we have conducted a survey among the nation’s State Opioid
Treatment Authorities and AATOD member programs, concluding that
buprenorphine is an underutilized medication in the OTPs based on the lack of
reimbursement through third party payers.


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Federal Policy Guidance Document released by CMS on July 11, 2014

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released an informational bulletin with respect to services available under the Medicaid program to individuals with a substance use disorder (SUD).

You will find the reference on page 2 of this Federal Policy Guidance Document to be of interest, “Medication Assisted Treatment is the use of FDA approved medications in combination with evidence based behavioral therapies to provide a whole patient approach to treating SUDs.”

The Informational Bulletin can be accessed on Medicaid.gov HERE.

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Jackson Lewis Newsletter For AATOD Members – July 23, 2014

Welcome to our eighth newsletter for AATOD members, where we highlight recent developments in employment law that should be of particular interest to your membership. Links are provided to our website, blogs, and other sources for more detailed information, or, you may contact the attorneys listed below directly. For specific employment law questions, you may speak to one of our attorneys through the Risk Management Hotline we have created for AATOD by calling 1-866-220-0946. To access the articles discussed below, press Control Click on the link.

New York Becomes 23rd State To Enact Medical Marijuana Law
The Governor of New York signed on July 7 New York’s Compassionate Care Act, which will permit limited use of medical marijuana by individuals suffering from covered medical conditions, making New York the 23rd state to legalize the use of medical marijuana.
EEOC Issues Controversial Pregnancy Discrimination Guidelines
In a controversial move, the EEOC has issued Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues, along with a “Q&A” document about the guidance and a Fact Sheet for Small Businesses.
Inflexible Leave Policy is Fair, Lawful and Protects Disabled Employees, Says Tenth Circuit
The EEOC has sued numerous employers, alleging that their “inflexible leave policies” were unlawful because they did not take into account the possibility of the employer’s providing additional leave as a reasonable accommodation. Those employers have agreed to pay, literally, millions of dollars to settle those cases. But now, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit has not only rejected the idea that inflexible leave policies are inherently discriminatory, but has gone even further and has recognized that such policies “can serve to protect…the rights of the disabled” by ensuring fair and uniform treatment.
New Minnesota Medical Cannabis Law Protects Employees From Discrimination For Medical Marijuana Use
Minnesota’s new Medical Cannabis Act, signed into law on May 29, 2014, differs from many other state medical marijuana laws in that it narrows the kind of medical cannabis permitted. It also offers considerable protections to applicants and employees in the workplace.
Yes, A Person Can be Criminally Prosecuted for Violating HIPAA
As reported by HealthcareInfoSecurity.com, a former hospital employee is facing criminal charges brought by federal prosecutors in Texas for alleged violations of the privacy and security requirements under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
A Court Affirms Workers’ Compensation Determination Requiring Employer to Reimburse Employee for Costs of Medical Marijuana
A New Mexico intermediate appellate court has affirmed a workers’ compensation judge’s determination that an employer and its workers’ compensation carrier are required to reimburse an employee for costs associated with the purchase of medical marijuana.
EEOC Letter Finds GINA and ADA Issues in Fit-For-Duty Medical Examination Form
A local government entity’s request for employee family medical history as part of an annual fitness-for-duty medical exam “clearly violates Title II of GINA,” according to an informal discussion letter from the EEOC Office of Legal Counsel.


Follow our Drug and Alcohol Testing Blog
The Jackson Lewis Drug and Alcohol Testing Law Advisor will help you keep up with the latest developments in workplace drug and alcohol testing laws, and will provide insight on related issues, including drug testing technologies, trends in drug and alcohol abuse, and avoiding discrimination when employees have substance abuse problems. http://www.drugtestlawadvisor.com/


About Jackson Lewis P.C.
Founded in 1958, Jackson Lewis, dedicated to representing management exclusively in workplace law, is one of the fastest growing workplace law firms in the U.S., with over 770 attorneys practicing in 55 locations nationwide and Puerto Rico.

For more information, please contact:
Paul J. Siegel, (631) 247-4605
Kathryn J. Russo, (631) 247-4606

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AATOD Letter to Attorney General Eric Holder

Mark W. Parrino, President of the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence, Inc. (AATOD) shared a link to an important letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, dated April 10, 2014, which was signed by sixteen US Senators. The Senators are urging the Attorney General to work with all of the branches in the Department of Justice to utilize the federally approved medications to treat opioid addiction “in combination with counseling”. “Specifically, the Department should initiate a multi-state program utilizing anti-addiction medications to support successful reentry into society of opioid addicted offenders from various correctional settings.” He asks us to join him in supporting this approach and clearly the sixteen Senators understand the benefit of providing access to Medication Assisted Treatment for opioid addiction in the Criminal Justice setting.

Additional Resources:


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Einstein Expert Panel Report on MAT is Now Available

Einstein Report

The Einstein Expert Panel Report: Medication-Assisted Treatment and the Criminal Justice System examines three critical questions:

  1. What are the biggest issues and challenges around adoption of MAT in the justice context?
  2. What are the principles of incorporating MAT in justice settings?
  3. What specific themes underlie the utilization of MAT in justice settings?

Click here to download the report now.

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ATOD’s Response to Proposed Rule on Disposal of Controlled Substances

“We particularly appreciate the sensitivity of providing such guidance to the county at a time of increasing prescription opioid abuse and addiction.  These proposed regulations expand the entities to which ultimate users may transfer unused, unwanted or expired controlled substances for the purpose of disposal as w ell as the methods by which such controlled substances  mayb e collected.”

Click Here to read the entire letter on on AATOD’s response to

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Challenges and Opportunities: Progress Report on AATOD Activities July 2012

I am providing a progress report on AATOD’s activities over the course of the past year since the “Challenges/Solutions” policy paper was published during June 2011.

AATOD Conference

AATOD had a successful National Conference which convened in Las Vegas, Nevada during April 2012. Approximately 1,400 people participated in this conference, making it one of the best attended conferences in recent history. The content was rich, including a number of pre-conference sessions focusing on patient advocacy training, tobacco cessation, integrating Hepatitis therapy in OTPs, increasing access to Medication Assisted Treatment in Drug Courts, the Opioid Maintenance Pharmacotherapy Course for Clinicians, and training for using buprenorphine in OTPs.

The theme of the conference, “Recovery for Patients, Families, and Communities”, was reiterated during a plenary session as well as a number of the workshop topics. As many people in the field know, producing this conference is our Association’s method of providing the most current clinical and policy information to our associates in the United States and abroad.

Health Care Reform

The AATOD Board of Directors is of the judgment that Health Care Reform is one of the most critical issues affecting our patients and the future of our treatment system. AATOD has been working with the Legal Action Center and the Coalition for Whole Health in developing policies in support of how Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction will be made available to Americans who would benefit from such treatment. Many of us in the field of addiction treatment were surprised when the federal government decided to allow the states to determine what Essential Health Benefits would be covered under Health Care Reform. Now that the Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act AATOD will continue its partnership with the Coalition in working with state provider organizations as a method of advocating for our patients. We also realize that this is an especially daunting task given the weak economy and shrinking state budgets.


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National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, Inc. Consensus Statement on the Use of Medications in Treatment of Substance Use Disorders

Numerous studies have shown the effectiveness of including medication in the treatment of some individuals with substance use disorders. For years, there has been limited use of medications for the treatment of substance dependence. Today, however, public and private health insurance plans are including (or at least considering) coverage of medication services along with psychosocial interventions for treatment of substance use disorders. A growing body of research substantiates that the use of FDA-approved medications can play an important role in the treatment of substance use disorders, especially for people with alcohol, opioid, or nicotine dependence, with continued research being done on medications for other substance use disorders. These studies demonstrate the efficacy of treating addiction as a chronic disease.  READ MORE

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Open House at Carolina Treatment Center, Pinehurst Displays Teamwork & Perseverance

By Kristen Hayes, CRC Corporate Communications Director

On Friday, September 14th, the Carolina Treatment Center in Pinehurst, NC held their first community Open House and celebrated National Recovery Month. The facility recently completed an expansion project, so the event included a special ribbon cutting ceremony with representatives from the Chamber of Commerce and the opportunity to tour the facility. They invited community providers to set up informational tables, held raffle drawings, had speakers discuss substance abuse and treatment, and sold food with all proceeds going to benefit a local youth substance abuse prevention program.

Before the event, Clinic Director Amy Morris said, “The goal of this event is to honor those who work in substance abuse prevention and treatment, and people in recovery from substance abuse disorders.”

After the event, Amy wrote in an email: “One year ago, I was given the opportunity to work as Director at Carolina Treatment Center in Pinehurst. I was given the task of taking a facility that had been without onsite leadership and was struggling with a community full of misinformed ideas and stigma. In addition, it was a facility that had outgrown itself. Staff members were sharing offices and niches that had been carved out of corners to work in. During this transitional time, staff morale had reached a low and turnover was astounding. There was much potential in the facility, the staff that had weathered the storm, and the community full of misinformation.

“I made a commitment to the staff to take care of their needs and they made a commitment to offer the highest quality of care and pursue the vision that I had for Pinehurst, even when it seemed daunting if not impossible, from where we stood.

“From January until now, the staff gave 100% and then some more. We embarked on a mission to fill vacant positions only with people who would be part of our goals and would accept nothing but the best from themselves and each other. Countless hours were spent reaching out to the community. There was a conscious effort to directly face the stigma that has always plagued opioid treatment. We dispersed across the law enforcement, prevention, social service, and treatment professionals throughout our county. We completed a renovation that allowed for 1600 square feet of additional treatment space with the help of Ed Ohlinger and Sam Moore. The staff at Carolina Treatment Center is absolutely the most dedicated team I have ever worked with and they do not ask for much in return.

“Last night was the accumulation of a yearlong effort to incorporate ourselves in the treatment community. Overwhelmingly, the response was positive. We were able to shake hands with people who would not take our calls 6 months ago. Parents came and shared their stories with each other and with us. They were thankful that we have opened our doors to the community to show that opiate treatment has a legitimate place and serves a grossly underserved, over stigmatized population. Family members and patients were proud to be part of our efforts and this event. We refuse to act as `the methadone clinic’ that people whisper about and are ashamed to attend.

“I would like to thank the staff at Pinehurst because without their hard work and dedication, none of this would be possible. I would like to thank Ed Ohlinger for giving me a chance to work on his team and allowing me to see a vision through and Sam Moore for his dedication to our expansion and renovations. I thank CRC for their continued commitment to the people we serve and the employees that work in the trenches of OTP treatment daily. With this continued support, Pinehurst has no limits. Keep watching because the best is yet to come.”

Echoed Katie Clark, a research assistant at the Yale School of Public Health who is also working towards her Masters of Science in Public Health at UNC Chapel Hill and was an invited speaker at the event, “I believe that opening the doors and showing the community what actually happens at treatment facilities can really work to reduce the stigma and intolerance that is associated with substance use disorder treatment facilities. I hope the staff are proud of their event. They showed commitment to their community and their patients.”

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