Before leaving Washington for its August recess, the US House of Representatives passed a large package of bills related to the Opioid crisis and Substance Use Disorder (SUD) generally. As we know, people continue to die in huge numbers as a result of Opioid and other addictions.
The Senate has been working on a similar package of SUD related bills. At one point, we believed they would pass them before July 4th. Then we were told they would consider them before the August recess. Now we understand that the focus may be on filling the Supreme Court opening as the highest priority when they return.
Please contact your US Senators and ask them to pass the Opioid package!
Take the opportunity to speak with them during their recess time in your state. If that’s not possible, you may call their office in Washington DC to express your request.
There are several NAATP priorities included in the Senate legislative package. They include an annual analysis of what each state is doing to enforce the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA - Parity). It also includes provisions to repay costs of education for SUD staff choosing to work in underserved areas. It includes changes that modernize 42 CFR part 2, allowing for integration into electronic medical records while providing safeguards for patients. We also anticipate legislation which would remove limitations on SUD treatment options for those who are covered by Medicaid.
Once the Senate acts, they can schedule a conference committee with the House and work out differences. But first the Senate must act. Please take a few minutes and ask them to prioritize this issue. Your individual actions can literally save lives!
NAATP Director of Public Policy