Brooks Introduces Bill Mandating Insurers Cover Opioid Withdrawal Medical Devices

Ensures coverage for FDA approved devices used to assist in addiction withdrawal.

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NYS Senator John E. Brooks.

Photo by: Office of Senator John E. Brooks.

Long Island, NY - December 14, 2017 - New York State Senator John E. Brooks has introduced legislation to assist those recovering from opioid addiction. Brooks’ legislation mandates insurance coverage for medical devices approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat debilitating withdrawal symptoms caused by addiction to heroin and other opioids.
In November 2017, the FDA gave final approval of a device, known as NSS-2 Bridge, which helps reduce the symptoms of opioid withdrawal. This battery-powered device is placed behind a patient’s ear and emits electric pulses into the patient’s cranial nerves to provide relief for withdrawal symptoms. The device is only available through a prescription and can be used for five days during the withdrawal phase. During testing of the device, all patients in the trial saw a reduction in symptoms within 30 minutes of using the device. Of those patients, 88 percent transitioned to medication-assisted therapy after five days using the device.
“In our multi-pronged effort to eradicate the opioid epidemic, it is crucial to provide practical help to those who are working to put their addictions behind them,” said Senator Brooks. “Tools that clear the path to recovery should be readily available and covered by insurance in order to provide the greatest chance for those in the grip of addiction to move on to a life of good health and productivity.”
Under current law, insurance companies are required to provide coverage for medications for the treatment of substance use disorder in the event of an emergency condition including the treatment of withdrawal symptoms.  The bill would amend this law to clarify that “medical devices or products” are also covered.  Brooks’ legislation would cover the recently approved device and any other FDA approved medical devices to treat withdrawal symptoms.