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#SubHealth’s Final Legislative Hearing to Combat the Opioid Crisis Will Explore Coverage, Payment Issues


03.29.18

In February, Energy and Commerce announced its legislative push to combat the opioid crisis. Since then, #SubHealth has reviewed eight bills to improve patient safety and bolster enforcement tools, and held a two-day hearing examining prevention and public health solutions (Day 1 and Day 2).

Today, Energy and Commerce confirmed details of its third and final legislative hearing, which will take place on Wednesday, April 11. #SubHealth will consider more than one dozen bills pertaining to coverage and payment issues.

More information will be posted as it becomes available here.

To learn more about the committee’s comprehensive efforts to combat the opioid crisis, click here.

House lawmakers hope to bring opioid legislation to vote before Memorial Day

A key House committee will hold the last of three major hearings to address the opioid crisis on April 11, and hopes to bring a legislative package to the floor before the House breaks for Memorial Day on May 24, according to GOP aides on Capitol Hill.

The third hearing of the House Energy & Commerce health subcommittee will focus on insurance coverage, payment issues, and prescription regulations for Medicaid beneficiaries. An initial session focused on enforcement issues and a second discussed public health, treatment, and prevention strategies.

“Combating the opioid crisis is my top priority as Chairman,” Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the committee chairman, told STAT in a statement. “It’s part of our bipartisan, comprehensive effort to deliver relief to every American community, which continues to battle this costly epidemic. Time is of the essence and we are working across the aisle to get legislation to the President’s desk as quickly as possible.”

After passing a spending bill last week, Capitol Hill has mulled how to spend the remaining months before November, with lawmakers keeping an eye on upcoming midterm elections.

Both chambers are widely expected to pass additional legislation on substance use and recovery issues before campaign season. Such a legislative package would fulfill what lawmakers have long identified as a bipartisan goal — and give legislators from both parties a popular accomplishment to campaign on this fall.

The bills the committee will discuss at the final hearing next month include requirements for state Medicaid providers to integrate prescription drug monitoring programs into their clinical workflow. The legislation would ensure that pharmacists and providers contracting through Medicaid check a database on a per-patient basis before dispensing a controlled substance.

It would also compel state Medicaid providers to enforce limits for “at-risk” beneficiaries who have filled opioid prescriptions at multiple pharmacies or otherwise drawn attention from state drug-utilization review programs. While committee aides said limits on providers that can prescribe and pharmacies that can dispense opioids are common under fee-for-service programs, the legislation would ensure they cover all Medicaid beneficiaries, including those utilizing managed care programs.

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