Proposed Federal Opioid Law Aims to Tackle Growing Problem

Congress passes federal opioid law

Bill Has Rare Bipartisan Support –

Update: President Trump signed the bill into law Oct. 24.

A proposed federal opioid law addressing the opioid crisis would increase access to treatment for addiction, open the door for non-opioid therapy, and limit over prescription of narcotic painkillers.

On October 3, in a rare show of bipartisanship, Congress passed the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act. The bill was approved by a vote of 98 to 1 in the Senate and 393 to 8 in the House of Representatives. The opioid legislation is expected to be signed into law by President Donald Trump and take effect Jan. 1.

With an opioid-related death toll at 700,000 and rising since the 1990s, Physician Partners of America (PPOA) applauds the proposed federal opioid law.

“Pain management specialists are at the forefront of combating this national problem,” said Abraham Rivera, M.D., chief medical officer of Physician Partners of America. “We embrace the actions of congress and will incorporate the resources the law provide for the welfare of our patients.”

The company stresses its interventional pain management approach, which treats the root of  pain problems, over masking symptoms with opioid medication.

The far-reaching legislation package is aimed at changing the way the United States approaches the addiction issue. Provisions include:

  • Creating a grant program for opioid recovery centers to address treatment and recovery
  • Allowing more health care practitioners to prescribe opioid addiction medications
  • Expanding the availability of naloxone, a medication that reverses overdoses, to first responders
  • Allowing government agencies to pursue addition and pain research projects
  • Educating a wider group of health care providers about best practices in pain management

The new federal opioid law aims to limit overprescription of opioid painkillers to Medicare and Medicaid recipients, and expands access to addiction treatment within those programs

“The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ reimbursement for common pain management procedures are also going up because of this,” said Luis Nieves, M.D. PPOA’s Hurst, Texas pain management specialist.  “Hopefully private insurance will follow and improve access for all patients.”