Vermont Gov. Phil Scott Calls For Expanding Opioid Treatment Services

GOP Governor Phil Scott is calling for federal action to address opioid addiction in Vermont. Testifying on Capitol Hill in front of a subcommittee of House Ways and Means, Scott urged lawmakers to consider expanding Medicare to cover opioid addiction services while touting Vermont’s efforts to offer services for those seeking treatment. Governor Scott’s focus on promoting access to opioid addiction services shows that he is committed to improving the lives of all Vermonters by tackling the opioid crisis head-on.

The VT Digger reports: 

“Gov. Phil Scott and members of his administration encouraged lawmakers in Congress Tuesday to consider expanding Medicare to cover opioid addiction services. 

Scott and Human Services Secretary Al Gobeille appeared before a subcommittee of House Ways and Means to testify on Vermont’s experience combating the opioid crisis. 

Loosening restrictions that currently bar the Medicare program from covering substance abuse services, like those offered through Vermont’s hub and spoke system, could help fight the opioid addiction crisis, they told the committee.

‘If you want to break down the stigma, this is one way to do it,’ Scott said. ‘Treat them the same.’

Scott said there are other changes Vermont would like to see, included adjusting billing practices to allow a screening to be used more widely, eliminating a Medicaid regulation that caps beds in some residential treatment facilities at 16, and funding of more research at the national level for pain management alternatives to opioids.

The hearing was Scott’s first time testifying before a congressional panel. It was also his first time in the Capitol at all, he said after the hearing…

‘Today I approach you humbly because we have not yet solved this problem,’ he told the committee…

Over the course of about an hour, Scott and Gobeille fielded questions from committee members on topics ranging from the state’s prescription drug monitoring program, the collaboration between the administration and the Legislature and how people are referred to treatment.”