Opioid Legislation Moving Forward
Next week, the House will consider multiple pieces of legislation to address the opioid epidemic, and many of these bills will improve mental health and substance use care.
Representatives will consider legislation that will:
- Make it easier for people who have Medicare to access telemedicine for mental health and substance use care (Access to Telehealth Services for Opioid Use Disorders Act - H.R. 5603);
- Require the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) cover mental health and substance use conditions (CHIP Mental Health Parity Act - H.R. 3192); and
- Allow people using Medicare Part D to get prior authorization electronically from their health care providers for needed medications (PASS Act of 2018 - H.R. 5773).
The House will also vote on a bill that will treat health information fairly across all conditions, improving outcomes for people with mental illness and substance use disorders. An outdated federal regulation known as 42 CFR Part 2 keeps health care providers from accessing information about a person’s substance use condition history, which may lead to inappropriately prescribing opioid medications or inadvertently triggering substance use relapse—and in some cases, leading to harmful health consequences and even drug overdose deaths.
H.R. 5795, the Protect the Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records Act, will align 42 CFR Part 2 with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations. This will allow for better integration and coordination of treatment—and better outcomes for people with mental health and substance use conditions
Act now. Ask your Representative to support these bills to address the opioid crisis and provide improved care for all people with mental health and substance use conditions.