Medicare/Alcohol Misuse/Depression

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services(CMS) proposed to add:
  • An annual screening for alcohol misuse(by the primary care provider) and four counseling sessions per year(if the beneficiary screens positive for alcohol misuse).
  • An annual screening for depression in primary care settings(which involve integrated accessible health care services) that offer staff assisted depression care(consists of clinical staff - i.e. nurse, p.a.- in the primary care office who can advise the Md and can facilitate referrals for mental health treatment).
  • All would be under the Medicare B benefit
These are proposed regulations for which public comments are invited. Final coverage regulations will be published later this year(2011).