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U.S. Senators Propose Limitations on Opioid Prescriptions; HAP Hosting Opioid Workshops

April 19, 2017

In an ongoing effort by Congress to fight drug addiction and abuse, U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced a bill to impose strict limits on certain opioid prescriptions. The bill sponsors’ home states of New York and Arizona enacted similar legislation.

The bill would bar doctors from supplying more than a week’s supply of an opioid drug to patients who are suffering from acute pain. Medical professionals would have to certify that they will not prescribe an opioid as an initial treatment for acute pain in an amount that exceeds a seven-day supply, and they may not provide a refill.

This legislation would not apply to patients being treated for chronic illnesses and those receiving end-of-life or palliative care.

Introduction of the proposal comes on the heels of Congressional approval for a plan to fight the opioid addiction epidemic by expanding treatment and recovery initiatives. Both Congress and state lawmakers have found there is significant bipartisan support for these types of efforts.

HAP supports a number of bills that have been introduced in the state General Assembly, including proposals to address the impact of the epidemic on children; electronic prescribing to deter abuse of written prescriptions; and insurance requirement coverage for abuse-deterrent opioid analgesic drug products.

HAP will continue its work with member hospitals, health systems, and other key stakeholders to improve the health care community’s response to the opioid epidemic with a focus on:

  • Preventing new cases of opioid addiction by promoting safe prescribing, and implementing the state’s prescription drug monitoring program 
  • Treating people addicted to opioids by expanding access to treatment and recovery
  • Increasing access to life-saving overdose medications
  • Focusing care for moms and infants impacted by opioid abuse
  • Reducing the supply of opioids in our communities

Hospitals and community stakeholders are encouraged to attend HAP’s May 4 workshop in Warrendale, and May 17 workshop in East Stroudsburg. The programs will provide clinical leaders, stakeholders, and community partners with an overview about how Pennsylvania is reacting to combat the opioid epidemic and what patient safety and quality leaders can do to help. Both programs will feature Pennsylvania’s Physician General, Dr. Rachel Levine, who will offer her insights at the state level. Information about both programs is available at HAP’s website.

HAP is encouraged that Congress and state policy leaders and lawmakers continue to be active partners in this effort to prevent opioid abuse, and stresses that this public health crisis requires a multi-faceted approach.

For more information about HAP’s physician efforts related to the opioid epidemic, contact Michael J. Consuelos, MD, HAP’s senior vice president, clinical integration. For more information related to state legislation about the opioid epidemic, contact Stephanie Watkins, HAP’s vice president, state legislative advocacy.

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