The Senate today passed by a vote of 98-1 the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, the final House and Senate agreement on legislation to address the opioid crisis. Approved by the House last week, the legislation includes an AHA-supported provision that would allow states to receive federal Medicaid matching funds for up to 30 days per year for services provided to adults aged 21-64 for substance use disorders in Institutions for Mental Diseases. The bill also includes AHA-supported provisions addressing health insurance for former foster youth; maternal and infant health; access to telehealth and medication-assisted treatment; parity in Children’s Health Insurance Program mental health and SUD benefits; a demonstration program to promote alternatives to opioids in emergency departments; revisions to the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems questions relating to pain management; care coordination for drug overdose patients; and improvements to coordination of prescription drug monitoring programs.
 
In a statement, AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels praised the House and Senate for passing bipartisan legislation that “will provide hospitals with needed tools and resources to better care for patients with SUDs and to prevent further addiction.”
 
Nickels said AHA is particularly pleased that the agreement partially repeals the longstanding IMD exclusion; however it is “deeply disappointed that the agreement excludes a critical provision passed overwhelmingly by the House to allow the responsible sharing of patients’ SUD treatment information in accordance with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act regulations. Current law (42 CFR Part 2) undermines the ability of providers to effectively coordinate care for patients with SUDs. We remain committed to the passage of legislation that eliminates the statutory barriers to optimal care for our patients.”

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