Washington – Today Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) marked the passage of legislation to help combat the opioid epidemic through the Committee on Ways and Means, including two provisions he coauthored, and discussed work still needed to fight this crisis.
“My legislation included in bills passed by the committee today will help remove barriers to care and increase treatment options for those suffering from addiction,” said Thompson. “Some costly prescriptions need to be approved by insurers before patients can access them. The current system uses faxes and phone calls, causing delays in treatment that can make conditions worse and leave patients dependent on painkillers. My legislation automates this process, helping patients access prescribed treatments quickly and efficiently.
“In addition, Medicare offers beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions the option to use Medicare Therapy Management (MTM) programs where patients work closely with providers and pharmacists to develop and monitor their treatment plan. This program teaches patients about different drug interactions, alternative therapies, and small steps they can take like adding over the counter medications that will improve their health outcomes. My bill expands eligibility for MTM programs so that those at risk for abuse or addiction can have better access to specialized care to manage their treatment plans.
“The legislation we approved today represents an important step forward, but our work to combat the opioid epidemic must continue. We need to continue studying all the causes of this crisis and exploring all possible legislative options – including funding for communities and local programs – to promote access to treatment and help the thousands of Americans still suffering,”
The Committee on Ways and Means passed bipartisan health bills during today’s markup, each of which focus on a strategy to address the opioid crisis. Thompson’s legislation was included in H.R. 5773, the PASS Act, which requires Medicare prescription drug plans to establish drug management programs for at-risk beneficiaries, standardizes electronic prior authorization for covered Part D drugs, and to provides for other program integrity measures under parts C and D of the Medicare program