|House Passes Compromise Opioid Crisis Response Measure|
On September 28, the House passed a compromise opioid crisis response measure (H.R. 6) which was released last week after months of markups and hearings. The bill includes a wide range of provisions to address the epidemic, including those intended to expand access to treatment for substance use disorder, particularly in local communities, and establish comprehensive opioid recovery centers. It also contains several AAOS-supported initiatives outlined below and is expected to quickly pass the Senate and become law.
e-Prescribing controlled substances
The agreement requires prescriptions for controlled substances covered under Medicare Part D to be transmitted electronically, starting January 1, 2021. Within a year of enactment, the attorney general must update requirements for the biometric component of multi-factor authentication for electronic prescriptions of controlled substances.
The AAOS strongly believes that electronic prescribing of medications promotes patient safety. E-prescriptions will help not only appropriate use and patient convenience, they would also provide data in a format that can provide better surveillance of excessive, inappropriate, and non-therapeutic prescribing.
Interoperability for Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs
The measure also includes support for states and localities to improve their Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) and implement other evidence-based prevention strategies. It encourages data sharing between states and supports other prevention and research activities related to controlled substances.
By ensuring that prescription information relating to opioid and other controlled substances is available in an easy-to-read system, interoperable across state lines, and available in a timely manner, prescribers will be able to access the most accurate and up-to-date information. This in turn, will help them to make the best clinical decisions for their patients.
Overall, the AAOS is encouraged that Congress is taking steps to address the opioid epidemic devastating so many patients, families, and communities. We’re also pleased that the measure did not include hard limits on opioid prescriptions. Post-operative and trauma patients have legitimate pain management requirements, and surgeons need to be able to appropriately manage pain.
Stakeholders need to work together to increase research funding for alternative pain management techniques; improve prescription monitoring; and create more effective education programs for clinicians and patients. The compromise legislation passed the House with more than two-thirds vote and is expected to avoid the usual procedural rules required for more contentious measures. Quick action is required before the Senate begins its election recess break for the measure to become law.
View the AAOS Pain Relief Toolkit here.