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Treatment for Substance Use Disorders

Concerning treatment for substance use disorders.
2024 Regular Session
Health Care & Health Insurance
Bill Summary

Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Study Committee. Section 1 prohibits a carrier that provides coverage under a health benefit plan for a drug used to treat a substance use disorder from requiring prior authorization for the drug based solely on the dosage amount. Section 2 requires an insurance carrier and the medical assistance program to reimburse a licensed pharmacist prescribing or administering medication-assisted treatment (MAT) pursuant to a collaborative pharmacy practice agreement (collaborative agreement) at a rate equal to the reimbursement rate for other providers. Section 7 amends the practice of pharmacy to include exercising prescriptive authority for any FDA-approved product or medication for opioid use disorder in accordance with federal law, if authorized through a collaborative agreement. Section 8 requires the state board of pharmacy, the Colorado medical board, and the state board of nursing to develop a protocol for pharmacists to prescribe, dispense, and administer medication-assisted treatment. Section 23 requires the medical assistance program to reimburse a pharmacist prescribing or administering medications for opioid use disorder pursuant to a collaborative agreement at a rate equal to the reimbursement rate for other providers. Section 3 requires the commissioner of insurance to:

  • Review the network adequacy rules promulgated by the commissioner and the division of insurance to ensure that the rules are sufficient to require each carrier to maintain an adequate number of substance use disorder treatment providers in underserved areas and to maintain an adequate number of behavioral health-care providers in all communities; and
  • Report the rule review findings to the opioid and other substance use disorders study committee, including any recommended rule changes.

Sections 4, 5, 6, and 25 authorize licensed clinical social workers and licensed professional counselors (professionals) within their scope of practice to provide clinical supervision to individuals seeking certification as addiction technicians and addiction specialists, and direct the state board of addiction counselors and the state board of human services, as applicable, to adopt rules relating to clinical supervision by these professionals. Section 9 and 10 establish the behavioral health diversion pilot program (pilot program) to award grants to at least 2, but not more than 5, district attorneys to divert from the criminal justice system persons who have a behavioral health disorder, including a substance use disorder, that requires early recovery services and treatment that is reasonably expected to deter future criminal behavior. Sections 11 through 16 expand the medication-assisted treatment expansion pilot program to include grants to provide training and ongoing support to pharmacies and pharmacists who are authorized to prescribe, dispense, and administer MAT pursuant to a collaborative agreement and protocol to assist individuals with a substance use disorder. Section 17 requires the department of health care policy and financing (HCPF) to seek federal authorization to provide screening for physical and behavioral health needs, brief intervention, administration of medication-assisted treatment, physical and psychiatric prescription medications provided upon release from jail, case management, and care coordination services through the medical assistance program to persons up to 90 days prior to release from jail, a juvenile institutional facility, or a department of corrections facility. Section 18 adds substance use disorder treatment to the list of health-care or mental health-care services that are required to be reimbursed at the same rate for telemedicine as a comparable in-person service. Section 19 requires HCPF to seek federal authorization to provide partial hospitalization for substance use disorder treatment with full federal financial participation. Section 20 requires each managed care entity (MCE) that provides prescription drug benefits or methadone administration for the treatment of substance use disorders to:

  • Set the reimbursement rate for take-home methadone treatment and office-administered methadone treatment at the same rate; and
  • Not impose any prior authorization requirements on any prescription medication approved by the FDA for the treatment of substance use disorders, regardless of the dosage amount.

Section 21 requires the behavioral health administration to collect data from each withdrawal management facility on the total number of individuals who were denied admittance or treatment for withdrawal management and the reason for the denial and review and approve any admission criteria established by a withdrawal management facility. Section 22 requires each MCE to disclose the aggregated average and lowest rates of reimbursement for a set of behavioral health services determined by HCPF.

For the 2024-25 state fiscal year and each state fiscal year thereafter, section 24 appropriates $150,000 from the general fund to the Colorado child abuse prevention trust fund (trust fund) for programs to reduce the occurrence of prenatal substance exposure. For the 2024-25 and 2025-26 state fiscal years, section 24 also annually appropriates $50,000 from the general fund to the trust fund to convene a stakeholder group to identify strategies to increase access to child care for families seeking substance use disorder treatment and recovery services. Section 26 requires the behavioral health administration (BHA) to contract with an independent third-party entity to provide services and supports to behavioral health providers seeking to become a behavioral health safety net provider with the goal of the provider becoming self-sustaining. Section 27 creates the contingency management grant program in the BHA to provide grants to substance use disorder treatment programs that implement a contingency management program for individuals with a stimulant use disorder. Section 28 requires a county jail seeking to provide services to incarcerated medicaid members to apply for a correctional services provider license from the BHA. Section 29 requires the BHA, in collaboration with HCPF, to convene a working group to study and identify barriers to opening and operating an opioid treatment program, including satellite medication units and mobile methadone clinics.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)


Under Consideration


Bill Text


Sponsor Type Legislators
Prime Sponsor

Rep. R. Armagost, Rep. C. deGruy Kennedy
Sen. K. Mullica, Sen. P. Will


Rep. M. Young
Sen. S. Jaquez Lewis, Sen. K. Priola


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