Sen. John Thune (R-SD) shared that the bipartisan legislative proposal, Helping to End Addiction and Lessen (HEAL) Substance Use Disorder Act, has passed out of the Senate Finance committee. The proposal includes Sen. Thune’s Expanding Telehealth Response to Ensure Addiction Treatment (e-TREAT) Act, aimed at increasing 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.
Thune has long advocated for the use of telehealth as a means to increase access to health care services in rural communities like those found 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.