The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee yesterday advanced to the full committee a number of AHA-supported bills to address the opioid crisis. The bills would amend the Medicaid Institutions for Mental Disease exclusion; cover IMD substance use disorder treatment for pregnant women up to 12 months after delivery; and provide grants to study alternative emergency pain management protocols, and develop programs to ensure care coordination and treatment for patients who have experienced overdoses. They also would add chronic pain evaluation and management to Medicare’s initial preventive physical examination for new beneficiaries; direct the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to standardize electronic prior authorization for Medicare Part D prescriptions; provide grants for prescriber education; require state Medicaid programs to integrate prescription drug monitoring program use into clinical workflows; and instruct CMS to evaluate the use of telehealth services in treating opioid use disorder. In addition, the AHA-supported bills would direct CMS to evaluate the use of abuse-deterrent opioids in Medicare plans; establish a threshold, based on specialty and geographic area, for which a prescriber would be considered an outlier opioid prescriber; and require all Children’s Health Insurance Program plans to cover treatment of mental illness and substance use disorders. During the markup, which considered more than 50 bills, the subcommittee also advanced a bill opposed by AHA that would require state Medicaid programs to report to CMS how graduate medical education funds are used to support physician training. In addition, the panel did not vote on AHA-supported bills that would improve information sharing regarding patients’ substance use disorder treatment history by aligning 42 CFR Part 2 with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and require the Health and Human Services Secretary to advance recommendations addressing the care of infants with opioid dependency. Health Subcommittee Chair Michael Burgess (R-TX) expects the full committee to consider the reported bills and others in May. On Tuesday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee unanimously approved the Opioid Crisis Response Act. Other committees, including House Ways and Means and Senate Finance, also are considering comprehensive opioid-related legislation.

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