The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee today held a hearing on a discussion draft of bipartisan legislation to address the opioid crisis, which the committee will mark up on April 24. According to a committee summary, the Opioid Crisis Response Act would allow the Food and Drug Administration to require drug makers to package certain opioids for a set duration and provide simple and safe opioid disposal options, and provide support to improve state prescription drug monitoring programs. It also would authorize grants to create comprehensive opioid recovery centers, implement state safe care plans for substance-exposed infants, train first responders to administer opioid overdose drugs, and address workforce shortages, among other provisions. During the hearing, Chairman Lamar Alexander said he would work with others on the committee to add a provision clarifying that hospitals can legally share critical patient information with families and health care providers under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. He said the committee also will see if the Senate Judiciary and Finance committees have any suggestions to improve or amend the bill. The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee this afternoon commenced a two-day hearing on more than 30 bills to address the opioid crisis through Medicare and Medicaid coverage and payment policies.
 

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