Two WHA-Supported Opioid Reform Measures Pass House

Senate expected to act in July

June 26, 2018

On June 20, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass two important opioid reform measures supported by WHA.

HR 6082, the Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act, would align patient behavioral health and substance use treatment records with HIPAA, making it easier to share critical health information. Under current law, 42 CFR Part 2 governs these records, and patients must provide express written consent for their records to be shared. By aligning 42 CFR Part 2 with HIPAA, providers could automatically receive records that show, for instance, cases where a surgery patient had a history of opioid abuse, allowing providers to consider that when developing the post-surgery treatment plan. This could prevent potentially devastating outcomes where a provider would otherwise not have that information, putting a patient at risk for relapse.

HR 5797, the IMD Care Act would open up more treatment locations for opioid patients covered by Medicaid. Under current law, fee-for-service Medicaid will not pay for treatment in Institutions of Mental Disease (IMD), facilities that provide primarily psychiatric care and have more than 16 beds. This legislation will allow those Medicaid patients to receive care in these additional settings for up to 30 days. This should help more patients receive care when and where they need it, leading to fewer overdose patients ending up in hospital emergency rooms.

WHA President/CEO Eric Borgerding sent a letter to all Wisconsin House members June 12 urging the House to take up these important measures and the Wisconsin delegation to support them.

“We were very pleased to see both these bills pass the House with wide bipartisan support. These are important reforms that will lead to better care at Wisconsin hospitals and better outcomes for patients seeking treatment for opioid addiction,” said Borgerding.

These bills, along with more than 40 other opioid reform bills will now go to the U.S. Senate, which is expected to take up its opioid reform proposals in July.

This story originally appeared in the June 26, 2018 edition of WHA Newsletter