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Washington Highlights

Senate Passes Opioids Conference Report

October 5, 2018—The Senate Oct. 3 passed, 98-1, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6), bipartisan legislation aimed at addressing the nation’s opioid crisis. The final opioid package conference agreement came together quickly after the Senate passed H.R. 6 in mid-September [see Washington Highlights, Sept. 21]. The conference agreement previously passed the House of Representatives Sept. 28 by a vote of 393-8.  

In an statement, AAMC President and CEO, Darrell G. Kirch, MD, congratulated Congress for working in a bipartisan manner to address the opioid crisis and specifically highlighted a conference committee agreement to partially repeal the Institutions for Mental Diseases exclusion calling it “an important step to improve access to treatment services for Medicaid beneficiaries by expanding the number of facilities where they can seek care.”

Kirch also acknowledged several missed opportunities as key AAMC-supported provisions were not included in the final package. He added, “While we are grateful that Congress continues to prioritize efforts to reverse the epidemic, we are disappointed that H.R. 6 does not include key bipartisan provisions that would further close the treatment gap by bolstering the health care workforce and equipping health care providers with the information they need.”

If a floor statement prior to the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called the legislation a “landmark package that will deliver critical resources to establish opioid-specific recovery centers and equip local medical practitioners. It will help law enforcement stop the flow of opioids across borders and increase safeguards against over prescription.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) in a Sept. 28 statement praised the conference committee agreement stating “the House and Senate just finalized a significant piece of legislation that makes critical policy changes and creates new programs to help providers, first responders, law enforcement, communities and families beat back the scourge of addiction. It is my hope that a final version of the bill will shortly be on the president’s desk for signature.”

The legislation now heads to the president, who is expected to sign.

Contact:

Len Marquez
Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-862-6281
Email: lmarquez@aamc.org

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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.


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For More Information

Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806
Email: jkleinman@aamc.org