House Passes Rep. Black’s Legislation to Fight the Opioid Crisis
Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the PROPER Act of 2018 (H.R. 5775), which includes two provisions authored by U.S. Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06) to combat the opioid crisis. The Reduce Opioid Overprescribing in Treatment (ROOT) Act and the Education for Disposal of Unused (EDU) Opioids Act were introduced to prevent unintended consequences of opioid use and educate patients about the dangers of addiction.
“The opioid crisis has taken a devastating toll on our communities in Tennessee. Addiction tears families apart, and its effects are often felt by future generations. As a nurse, it is my firm belief that we must treat people addicted to opioids as patients who can recover, with the hope of turning their lives around. And while there is no single legislative fix, we must do all we can to enact commonsense measures that will begin to reverse this epidemic and prevent addiction in the first place,” said Congressman Black. “It is my prayer that we will soon see an end to this crisis, and I am proud that Congress and the Trump Administration are taking action to fight back.”
The Education for Disposal of Unused (EDU) Opioids Act of 2018 requires Medicare Advantage (MA) plans to have an in-home conversation with beneficiaries regarding proper disposal techniques and Drug Takeback Programs in their area. The provision also requires MA plans to provide guidance on cost-effective means for proper disposal through the Medication Therapy Management Program.
Currently, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) partially bases its calculation for Medicare incentive payments to hospitals on results from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey provided to a sample of inpatient discharge patients. The survey consists of 25 questions – including three related to pain management for the purpose of measuring facility performance – which could potentially result in healthcare professionals overprescribing medication for patients.
The Reduce Overprescribing of Opioids in Treatment (ROOT) Act of 2018 addresses this issue by instructing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to either eliminate the pain questions altogether, or revise the existing questions to ensure patients who are prescribed opioids are educated by the hospital about both opioid risks and non-opioid pain management alternatives.
Congressman Diane Black represents Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District. A nurse for more than 40 years, she serves as a member of the House Budget Committee and the Ways and Means Committee.