April 28, 1993

Health Access America's Coverage of Detoxification

Author Affiliations

American Society of Addiction Medicine Washington, DC

JAMA. 1993;269(16):2085. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500160051021

To the Editor.  —In Paul Cotton's article in the Medical News & Perspectives section of JAMA1 describing basic benefits in various health insurance plans, the author erroneously states that the American Medical Association's plan does not cover detoxification. Detoxification originally was excluded in Health Access America's basic benefits package, but the Medical Society of the State of New York and the American Society of Addiction Medicine argued at the 1991 Interim Meeting that if the exclusion were to stand, it would have many negative repercussions, including setting exclusion of detoxification as the standard for health insurers; sending a message that detoxification is not part of the mainstream of acute medical care; deterring hospitals from establishing detoxification services or from maintaining present services; admitting alcoholics to hospitals under alternative diagnoses and lessening opportunities for adequate follow-up care; and taking a giant step backward in the effort to aid persons suffering