Legislation Aims to Curb Opioid Addiction
On Oct. 24, 2018, President Trump signed into law the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, which implements Medicaid, Medicare and public health reforms to combat the opioid crisis through treatment and recovery initiatives. Following are some of its provisions:1
- Adds a review of current opioid prescriptions and, as appropriate, screening for opioid use disorder during the Welcome to Medicare initial examination
- Requires e-prescribing, with some exceptions, for coverage of controlled-substance prescription drugs under Medicare Part D
- Incentivizes the use of post-surgical injections as a pain treatment alternative to opioids
- Encourages the development of clinically superior nonopioid drugs
- Requires prescription drug plan sponsors under the Medicare program to establish drug management programs for at-risk beneficiaries
- Enables clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives and certified registered nurse anesthetists to prescribe buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is a semi-synthetic opioid shown to have less physical dependence that can help suppress withdrawal symptoms for patients who have become reliant on opioids.2
1 Govtrack.us. 2018. “H.R. 6: SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act.” https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr6. Accessed Oct. 26, 2018.
2 National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment. “What Exactly is Buprenorphine?” https://www.naabt.org/faq_answers.cfm?ID=2. Accessed Oct. 26, 2018.