The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced two new national coverage determinations that cover alcohol misuse screening and behavioral counseling for Medicare beneficiaries as well as screening for depression.
The alcohol counseling is for those who “misuse alcohol, but whose levels or patterns of alcohol consumption do not meet criteria for alcohol dependence,” according to CMS.
Annual alcohol misuse screening by primary care providers, such as a beneficiary’s family practice physician, internal medicine physician, or nurse practitioner, in settings such as physicians’ offices are covered under CMS’ new policies. The benefit also includes four behavioral counseling sessions per year furnished by the primary care provider, if beneficiaries screen positive for alcohol misuse.
Annual screening for depression for Medicare beneficiaries is now covered in primary care settings that have staff resources to follow up with appropriate treatment and referrals. The purpose of this screening is to assure accurate diagnosis, effective treatment and follow-up.
The coverage decision on alcohol misuse screening is online at http://www.cms.gov/medicare-coverage-database/details/nca-decision-memo.aspx?NCAId=249 and the decision on depression screening is online at http://www.cms.gov/medicare-coverage-database/details/nca-decision-memo.aspx?NCAId=251.