Congressmen introduce bipartisan opioid response bill

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U.S. Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) have partnered with U.S. Reps. Harley Rouda (D-CA) and Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) to introduce bipartisan, bicameral legislation to help individuals struggling with opioid addiction.

Called the Improving Medicaid Programs’ Response to Overdose Victims and Enhancing (IMPROVE) Addiction Care Act, the legislation would require state Medicaid programs to use jointly-funded drug utilization review programs to increase access to opioid use disorder treatment. Additionally, the legislation would require those programs to inform healthcare professionals if a Medicaid patient had a history of opioid-related overdoses.

“No corner of Pennsylvania has been spared from the opioid epidemic,” Toomey said. “Physicians need to know if they’ve prescribed a lethal dose of opioids to a patient. The IMPROVE Addiction Care Act will ultimately promote better prescribing habits and help those battling addiction get the care they clearly need. I thank Senator Manchin and Representatives Rouda and Mullin for working with me on this bipartisan bill, and I hope we are able to get this to the president’s desk before the end of the year.”

The legislation is supported by the Opioid Safety Alliance, the Society of Behavioral Medicine, the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, the Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC), and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

“In order to safely and effectively treat a patient who has previously experienced a non-fatal overdose, it is critical prescribers have access to their patient’s overdose history in order to prevent it from happening again,” said Representative Mullin. “This legislation breaks down barriers to help Medicaid beneficiaries get access to the treatment they need and ensure providers have a clear picture of the patient’s history with opioid-related overdoses. We all know someone who has been affected by the opioid epidemic, whether it’s a family member or loved one, and it’s going to take all of us working together to put an end to this crisis.”

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