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House Hearing: Implementation Delays and Combating the Crisis

On March 3, 2020, NAADAC closely followed the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing entitled, “Combatting an Epidemic: Legislation to Help Patients with Substance Use Disorders.” In response to recent reports about delayed implementation of the 2018 SUPPORT Act law, the Committee also took the opportunity to assert its oversight function with its panel of agency witnesses.

Reports point to a lack of progress by CMS in issuing Medicaid guidance needed to help states implement the new law, including guidance to increase family-focused residential treatment programs, care for infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome, reimbursement options for addiction treatment, transitional services for incarcerated individuals with SUD. CMS indicated their intentions to issue the overdue guidance sometime this spring.

As advertised, the Committee spent time, over the course of the five hour hearing, examining additional measure to address the addiction crisis in America. The bills discussed sought to provide greater funding stability for existing treatment and prevention programs ($1 billion annually to states and $5 billion annually to federal); invest in a more SUD specialized workforce; lower rates of recidivism by increasing access to federal health benefits and making medication assisted treatment available; and stopping suspicious drug orders and diversion. Among the bills discussed were:

H.R. 1329, the "Medicaid Reentry Act"

H.R. 2281, the "Easy MAT for Opioid Addiction Act"

H.R. 2466, the "State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act"

H.R. 2482, the "Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act of 2019"

H.R. 2922, the "Respond to the Needs in the Opioid War Act" or the "Respond NOW Act"

H.R. 3414, the "Opioid Workforce Act of 2019"

H.R. 3878, the "Block, Report, And Suspend Suspicious Shipments Act of 2019"

H.R. 4141, the "Humane Correctional Health Care Act"

H.R. 4793, the "Budgeting for Opioid Addiction Treatment Act"

H.R. 4812, the "Ensuring Compliance Against Drug Diversion Act of 2019"

H.R. 4814, the "Suspicious Order Identifying Act of 2019"

H.R. 4974, the "Medication Access and Training Expansion Act of 2019"

H.R. 5572, the "Family Support Services for Addiction Act of 2020"

H.R. 5631, the "Solutions Not Stigmas Act of 2019"

NAADAC will be reviewing the above bills closely in anticipation of upcoming action. Please be sure to check back for updates on our efforts.