House Advances More Initiatives to Combat Opioid Crisis
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-04) joined her colleagues in the House this week to pass 15 additional bills, complementing the more than 30 bills the House passed last week, to combat the opioid crisis with addiction treatment, prevention, and additional tools for law enforcement.
“The opioid crisis is severe and deserves our continued attention,” said Congresswoman Hartzler, who established a “Drug Free Missouri” initiative where she conducted 13 high school assemblies in Missouri’s Fourth District and compiled a “Drug Free Missouri” toolkit, outlining local resources for drug addiction. “In Missouri alone, there were over 900 opioid related overdose deaths in 2016. That’s a rate of nearly 16 deaths per 100 people in Missouri. In comparison, the national rate is about 13 deaths per 100,000 people. We must do all we can to reverse this trend,” added Hartzler.
Among the bills that passed this week were measures to address mental health care coverage for children, expand prescription drug disposal options, and improve opioid prescribing practices. To address mental health care coverage for children, the House approved a measure requiring state Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP) to cover mental health benefits (including substance use disorder services for pregnant women and children) and preventing the imposing of limits on mental health treatment that are lower than limits placed on physical health care coverage.
Also included in this week’s measures was the IMD CARE Act, an important bill intended to address a Medicaid rule that has prevented beneficiaries from being able to access substance abuse treatment at inpatient facilities. Current law prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for treatment for Medicaid patients at inpatient mental health facilities that have more than 16 beds. This provision prevents individuals with addiction disorders from accessing the full continuum of care necessary to treat their addiction. The IMD Care Act removes this exclusion and improves these individuals’ access to care.
These bills have now been referred to the Senate where they await further consideration.
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