Skip Navigation LinksHome | Editors' Blog | Post

CMS to add coverage for alcohol misuse, depression

Primary care providers will get additional revenue opportunities soon thanks to new Medicare coverage determinations for alcohol misuse and depression, CMS announced in a press release Oct. 14. Medicare will cover screening for alcohol misuse and behavioral counseling for those found to be misusing alcohol. Depression screening will be covered for primary care practices that have “staff resources to follow up” with treatments and referrals, the agency said.

“Preventive services bring relief to Medicare beneficiaries for whom preventive care means early identification of disease and greater opportunity for treatment and recovery,” said CMS Administrator Donald M. Berwick, MD, in a prepared statement.  “It’s just as important for our elderly beneficiaries to enjoy access to preventive services as it is for any American.” 

Alcohol misuse:This screening is covered for primary care providers, including nurse practitioners, in the office setting. It also includes four behavioral counseling sessions annually, furnished by the primary care provider, for patients who screen positive for alcohol misuse.

Wait for details:CMS has yet to issue transmittals on what codes – and how much they’ll pay – for either of these new covered services. Expect this to come in “subsequent guidance,” the agency says.

You can read about the alcohol misuse screening decision here, and the decision on depression screening here.

To comment, login here.
Reader Comments (0)


User Name:
Welcome to the new Part B News Online. If you are a returning user having trouble logging in, please click here.
Back to top