The U.S. House is moving toward taking definitive action on wide-ranging proposals to help address the opioid epidemic. The main legislation, H.R. 6, the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act, is a bipartisan bill that contains several provisions which the American Hospital Association supports. This legislation serves as the umbrella legislation that packages together most of the opioid bills. It is expected the House will vote on H.R. 6 Thursday and send it to the Senate for consideration as early as this week.
H.R. 6 encourages the use of non-opioid analgesics for post-surgical pain management, aims to increase access to medication-assisted treatment by giving nurse practitioners and physician assistants permanent authority to prescribe medication assisted treatment and extends that authority to certified nurse midwives, clinical nurse specialists and certified registered nurse anesthetists for five years. It also allows certain providers to treat up to 100 patients with buprenorphine instead of a maximum of 30 in their first year.
However, absent from the bill are two key provisions considered essential: Responsible information sharing among providers with regard to substance use disorder and changes to Medicaid that allow states to receive federal matching funds for Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMDs). Read AHA’s fact sheet. Action on these two latter provisions is expected on Wednesday with the House hoping to wrap up all legislative decisions by next week. The Senate anticipates taking up its version(s) to address opioids by mid-summer.