A final rule on substance use disorders had better drop soon.

The Obama administration will have to release any final rules by November 21 to assure that they take effect before President Trump takes office. Austin and I are waiting on tenterhooks to see if the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) issues a final rule making it possible for Medicare and Medicaid to share data on substance use disorders with researchers.

We’ve written extensively about the damage that withholding such data will inflict on research that depends on Medicare and Medicaid data, as well as the impediments that data suppression will create to research on how to deal with the opioid epidemic. SAMHSA released a proposed rule back in February that largely addressed our concerns. Let’s hope it finalizes that rule on Monday.


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