Statement on Passage of Bipartisan Senate and House Opioid Agreement

Tom Nickels

Executive Vice President

American Hospital Association


October 3, 2018


“America’s hospitals and health systems commend the House and Senate for their bipartisan legislation to address the nation’s opioid epidemic. The widespread devastation of this epidemic affects communities across the nation, costing nearly 150 lives each day. The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act will provide hospitals with needed tools and resources to better care for patients with substance use disorders (SUD) and to prevent further addiction.  

We are particularly pleased that the agreement partially repeals the longstanding Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion by giving state Medicaid programs the option to cover up to 30 days per year of services for substance use disorder treatment in an IMD for patients 21-64 years old.

However, we are deeply disappointed that the agreement excludes a critical provision passed overwhelmingly by the House to allow the responsible sharing of patients’ substance use disorder 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.

From offering 24-hour lifesaving emergency department overdose treatment to connecting patients with treatment and recovery resources in the communities, the nation’s hospitals and health systems work to combat the opioid epidemic on a daily basis. This final agreement will help support our comprehensive, evidence-based community response.”



Arika Trim, (202) 626-2319

Marie Johnson, (202) 626-2351