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Jun 13, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Kevin Cramer supported the passage of 25 bills in the House of Representatives, several in which he co-sponsored, today in response to the nationwide public health emergency caused by the misuse of opioids. Over the next two weeks, the House will consider dozens of bills to combat the opioid crisis ranging from issues of over prescribing, pharmacies, and treatment centers.

The Energy and Commerce Committee, of which Cramer is a member, has taken the lead in the House on the opioid crisis, holding its first hearing in 2012. Last month, the committee passed more than 60 bills on the opioid crisis. Cramer also participated in a White House briefing from top Administration officials in April.      

“The opioid crisis is an epidemic requiring attention by all levels of government. In 2016 alone, 77 North Dakotans died of an overdose. Any form of addiction should be treated compassionately and proactively,” said Cramer. “We need to keep this conversation moving. The opioid crisis facing our nation will not be solved overnight. Governments, communities, and families must work together in this long struggle.”

Summary of the Bills Passed

H.R. 5041, the Safe Disposal of Unused Medication Act, permits certain licensed employees of hospice programs to dispose controlled substances onsite after a patient’s death. Cramer is a co-sponsor of this bill.

H.R. 5176, the Preventing Overdoses While in Emergency Rooms Act, requires the Secretary of HHS to develop protocols and a grant program for health care providers to address the needs of people who survive a drug overdose. Cramer is a co-sponsor of this bill.    

H.R. 449, the Synthetic Drug Awareness Act, requires the U.S. Surgeon General to report to Congress on the public health effects of the rise in synthetic drug use among youth aged 12 to 18 years old in order to further educate parents and the medical community on the health effects of synthetics. Cramer is a co-sponsor of this bill.

H.R. 3331, to amend title XI of the Social Security Act to promote testing of incentive payments for behavioral health providers for adoption and use of certified electronic health record technology. This bill authorizes the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to test a program offering incentive payments to behavioral health providers that adopt and use certified electronic health record technology.

H.R. 4284, the INFO Act, directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create a public and easily accessible electronic dashboard linking to all of the nationwide efforts to combat the opioid crisis.

H.R. 4684, the Ensuring Access to Quality Sober Living Act, authorizes the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to develop, publish, and disseminate best practices for operating recovery housing that promotes a safe environment and sustained recovery from substance use disorders.  

H.R. 5002, the ACE Research Act, provides the National Institutes of Health new authorities to conduct research on innovative non-addictive pain medications.

H.R. 5009, Jessie's Law, ensures medical professionals have access to a consenting patient’s complete health information when making treatment decisions by requiring the Department of HHS to develop and annually disseminate best practices regarding the prominent display of substance use disorder (SUD) history in records of patients who have previously provided this information to a health care provider.   

H.R. 5102, the Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Act, creates a loan repayment program for SUD treatment providers. Specifically, the legislation offers student loan repayment of up to $250,000 for participants who agree to work as a SUD treatment professional in areas most in need of their services.

H.R. 5197, the ALTO Act, directs the Secretary of HHS to carry out a demonstration program to test alternative pain management protocols to limit the use of opioids in hospital emergency departments.

H.R. 5228, the SCREEN Act, provides the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with stronger recall and seizure authority to disrupt the entry of counterfeit and illicit drugs through International Mail Facilities (IMFs).   

H.R. 5261, the TEACH to Combat Addiction Act, directs the Secretary of HHS to designate regional Centers of Excellence to enhance and improve how health professional are educated in substance abuse disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery through development, evaluation, and distribution of evidence-based curricula for health profession schools.

H.R. 5272, the RESULTS Act, ensures programs and activities that are funded by a grant, cooperative agreement, loan, or loan guarantee from HHS, and whose purpose is to prevent or treat a mental health or substance use disorder, are evidence-based, requires the newly established National Mental Health and Substance Use Policy Laboratory to issue guidance to applicants for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grants that support evidence-based practices.

H.R. 5327, the Comprehensive Opioid Recovery Centers Act, directs the Secretary of HHS to award grants to at least 10 providers that offer treatment services for people with opioid use disorder.

H.R. 5329, the Poison Center Network Enhancement Act, reauthorizes the national network of Poison Control Centers. Specifically, the legislation reauthorizes the toll-free number, national media campaign, and grant program under the Public Health Service Act.

H.R. 5353, the Eliminating Opioid Related Infectious Diseases Act, authorizes the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to undertake an injection drug-use associated infection elimination initiative and work with states to improve education, surveillance, and treatment of infections associated with injection drug use.  

H.R. 5473, the Better Pain Management Through Better Data Act, directs the Food and Drug Administration to hold a public meeting and issue guidance to industry addressing data collection and labeling for medical products that reduce pain and may replace, delay, or reduce the use of oral opioids.

H.R. 5483, the Special Registration for Telemedicine Clarification Act, directs the Department of Justice (DOJ) to issue regulations to improve the flexibility in the practice of telemedicine (for remote diagnosis and treatment of patients) within one year of the bill’s enactment.

H.R. 5582, the Abuse Deterrent Access Act, requires the Secretary of the Department of HHS to report to Congress on existing barriers to access to “abuse-deterrent opioid formulations” by Medicare Part C and D beneficiaries.

H.R. 5583, to amend title XI of the Social Security Act to require States to annually report on certain adult health quality measures, requires states to include behavioral health indicators in their annual reports on the quality of care under Medicaid beginning in 2024.

H.R. 5587, the Peer Support Communities of Recovery Act, enhances the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act’s Building Communities of Recovery Program and authorizes the Department of HHS to award grants to peer support specialist organizations for the development and expansion of recovery services.

H.R. 5685, the Medicare Opioid Safety Education Act, directs the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to compile education resources for  beneficiaries regarding opioid use, pain management, and alternative pain management treatments, and include these resources in the “Medicare and You” handbook.

H.R. 5800, the Medicaid IMD ADDITIONAL INFO Act, directs the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) to conduct a study on institutions for mental disease that receive Medicaid reimbursement.

H.R. 5812, the CONNECTIONS Act, authorizes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to carry out certain controlled substances overdose prevention and surveillance activities in order to improve data collection and integration into physician clinical workflow so that timely, complete, and accurate information will get into the hands of providers and dispensers so that they can make the best clinical decisions for their patients.

H.R. 4275, the Empowering Pharmacists in the Fight Against Opioid Abuse Act, requires the Department of HHS and the Drug Enforcement Administration to develop and disseminate materials for training pharmacists, health care practitioners, and the public about the circumstances under which a pharmacist may decline to fill a prescription.