This is in reference to the March 19 commentary titled “Ending MaineCare coverage for methadone is not what any good doctor would order.”

Co-author Dr. Robert Newman’s commitment and passion over decades are truly extraordinary, and patients suffering from the disease of addiction are fortunate to have such a dedicated advocate.

It is true that in many states, the reimbursement rate for patients receiving comprehensive methadone treatment – including payment for physicians, nurses and counselors, daily medicating plus laboratory tests and periodic drug testing – is $5,000. However, in Maine, because of the recent decreases in MaineCare (Medicaid) reimbursement for this comprehensive treatment, the cost is only $3,000.

Comparing this cost to the approximately $6,000 cost for Suboxone medication alone (a figure that does not include doctor or counseling visits, laboratory tests or drug testing), it becomes even clearer that eliminating the scientifically proven, cost-effective and comprehensive treatment of methadone would create a greater tax burden to Mainers and would be bad for patients.

Steven Kassels, M.D.

medical director, Community Substance Abuse Centers

Southwest Harbor