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Wolf Ends Medicaid Pre-Authorization For Opioid Medication

Toby Talbot
Eliminating the requirement of pre-authorization could save people addicted to opioids times when it comes to receiving treatment.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's administration says it is ending a pre-authorization requirement for Medicaid recipients to receive coverage for medication they are prescribed to help treat opioid addiction.

The administration said Thursday that waiving the requirement could cut out waits of up to 24 hours to authorize coverage of medication-assisted treatments that help block the effects of withdrawal or prevent users from experiencing a high.

Medications such as Vivitrol are often prescribed while a patient gets therapy or counseling. Treatment advocates have pushed for such a step, and Wolf's administration says it'll ask private insurers to consider making a similar change.

The announcement comes halfway through a three-month public health emergency declaration, which allows government officials to temporarily suspend some regulations to help fight Pennsylvania's opioid epidemic.