New opioids legislation was passed by Congress earlier today. The new law will save the Federal government more than 2.6 billion dollars from the budget.
The new law will now allow for Medicaid funding for inpatient addiction treatment in institutions treating mental disease. The CDC has termed the opioid crisis an epidemic. In 2017, more than 47,000 Americans died due to overdose.
The package also includes authorization to nurses to prescribe medication-assisted treatment after completing mandatory training and getting a waiver. This is a very good move, since right now, only 7,000 out of the 250,000 nurses nationwide can currently issue prescriptions.
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners says the permanent authorization will likely boost the workforce for anti-opioid treatments.
On the other hand, addiction treatment advocates and lobbyists complain that the funding is not adequate to address the epidemic.
The legislation left out a provision that would roll back the privacy requirement around patient records for addiction treatment.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) wrote another provision in the bill, which blocks patient-brokers from referring commercially insured addiction patients to fraudulent or substandard treatment homes. Mr. Rubio’s bill addresses the serious problem of patient brokers who are taking advantage of individuals with opioid use disorders.