Opportunity to Comment on Medicare Proposal to Include Alcohol and Depression Screening to Medicare Preventative Services

SAMHSA/CMHS Consumer Affairs E-News

July 22, 2011


Opportunity to Comment on Medicare Proposal to Include Alcohol and Depression Screening to Medicare Preventative Services

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today proposed to add alcohol screening and behavioral counseling, and screening for depression, to the comprehensive package of preventive services now covered by Medicare.  These proposed national coverage determinations (NCDs) are issued under authority granted by the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA), which allows CMS to add coverage of new preventive benefits that are recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and are appropriate for Medicare beneficiaries.

Under the new proposals, Medicare would cover an annual alcohol misuse screening by a beneficiary’s primary care provider.  The benefit would also include four behavioral counseling sessions per year if a beneficiary screens positive for alcohol misuse.  Medicare would also cover an annual screening for depression in primary care settings that offer staff-assisted depression care, so beneficiaries can receive an accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and follow-up.

Public comments are invited on today’s proposed decisions for 30 days.  CMS will issue final coverage decisions later this year.  The proposal for screening and counseling for alcohol misuse is available on the CMS website at:

https://www.cms.gov/medicare-coverage-database/details/nca-proposed-decision-memo.aspx?&NcaName=Screening%20and%20Behavioral%20Counseling%20Interventions%20in%20Primary%20Care%20to%20Reduce%20Alcohol%20Misuse&bc=ACAAAAAAIAAA&NCAId=249&

The proposal for screening and counseling for depression is available on the CMS website at:

https://www.cms.gov/medicare-coverage-database/details/nca-proposed-decision-memo.aspx?&NcaName=Screening%20for%20Depression%20in%20Adults&bc=ACAAAAAAIAAA&NCAId=251&

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