Advocacy Alert: Federal Opioid Legislation

July 12, 2018

The opioid crisis is, alas, still going strong. There are two pieces of federal legislation currently in Senate committees that BHAP would like to inform you of.

Federal HB 5685: Medicare Opioid Safety Education Act of 2018

On May 10, HB 5685 was introduced in the House of Representatives. The Medicare Opioid Safety Education Act of 2018, if passed, will require the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide those who receive Medicare with educational resources regarding opioid use and pain management, as well as providing further information on alternative non-opioid pain management techniques.

As of June 12, 2018, it passed the House. It then moved onto the Senate, where it was read twice and referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

BHAP is in support of this legislation. We believe that anything that informs patients about what they are taking, providing education on medication that is potentially addictive, is a good step towards stemming addiction.

BHAP encourages you to reach out to your representative to show your support of this legislation.

Federal HB 5353: Eliminating Opioid Related Infectious Diseases Act of 2018

Meanwhile, on March 30, HB 5353 was also introduced into the House of Representatives. The Eliminating Opioid Related Infectious Diseases Act of 2018, if passed, will amend the Public Health Service Act. This amendment will require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to expand its grant program for combatting Hepatitis C infections to include other infections that are associated with injection drug use.

As of June 12, 2018, it passed the House. It then moved onto the Senate, where it was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

BHAP is in support of this legislation. The legislation will allow providers to do education and testing for infectious diseases that are related to substance use, and provides funding for that testing and education surrounding it. This helps patients dealing with substance use disorders.

BHAP encourages you to reach out to your representative to show your support of this legislation.

Washington FAQ Update

Hey, members in Washington! We've updated our Frequently Asked Questions to address the oversight of behavioral health providers that became effective July 1, 2018.

HB 1388, signed into law by Governor Inslee on March 22, 2018, moves licensing and certification of many behavioral health providers, including substance use disorder treatment facilities, to the Department of Health. Previously, the Department of Health was responsible for licensing certain facility types while the Department of Social and Health Service and its Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery had certification and oversight responsibility for most substance use disorder treatment programs. Responsibility will now be consolidated under the Department of Health with the stated goals to "align core operations and provide better, coordinated, and more cost-effective services, with the ultimate goal of achieving whole person care" and to "reduce administrative burdens of licensing and certification of behavioral health providers and facilities by consolidating those functions within a single agency at the Department of Health."

Providers in Washington state must review the new licensing materials and applicable regulations for their facility and program type(s). To guide operators and their counsel, the Behavioral Health Association of Providers has updated the Frequently Asked Questions and sample forms to reflect many of the substantive legal changes affecting substance use disorder treatment providers in the state.

These forms and extensive FAQs are only available to BHAP members. Consider becoming a BHAP Member today!

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