The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations today held a hearing to examine how states are combating the opioid crisis. Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA) called for reforming 42 CFR Part 2, a 1970s law that limits the sharing of substance abuse treatment records, so physicians can better coordinate care for patients with opioid abuse. AHA supports congressional action to reform the law. Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Subcommittee Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO) said that Medicaid cuts contained in the House-passed American Health Care Act would eliminate access to opioid treatment for millions of Americans and that the $45 billion being discussed as an amendment to the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act is insufficient to fill that gap. Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford described how Baltimore is working to establish a 24-hour facility to stabilize people seeking opioid treatment until a bed becomes available, an option he described as a more cost-effective alternative to emergency department care. Among other strategies, Rebecca Boss, director of the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals, said her department is hoping to develop a data feed to receive fentanyl test results from hospitals. Other witnesses at the hearing included officials from Virginia and Kentucky.

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