McKinley Introduces Bill to Increase Access to Treatment for Opioid Overdose Patients

Bipartisan Effort Will Prevent Repeat Overdoses

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Washington, March 8, 2018 | comments
Congressmen David B. McKinley, P.E., (WV-1) and Mike Doyle (PA-14) introduced a healthcare bill, which would create a program aimed at preventing repeat opioid overdoses, particularly in rural communities. Far too many patients are overdosing multiple times because they’re unable to access the necessary treatment.
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Congressmen David B. McKinley, P.E., (WV-1) and Mike Doyle (PA-14) introduced a healthcare bill, which would create a program aimed at preventing repeat opioid overdoses, particularly in rural communities. Far too many patients are overdosing multiple times because they’re unable to access the necessary treatment.

“The opioid epidemic is ravaging America, particularly rural states like West Virginia. Overdose rates are skyrocketing. Often, people who survive an overdose end up doing it again because they’re unable to access the necessary treatment. This bill would ensure these patients receive the treatment they need in the emergency room and are then placed in the care of a substance abuse treatment provider to receive continued care, giving them a better shot at recovery,” said McKinley.

“We know that many patients with opioid use disorders who want to quit would benefit from having access to Medication-Assisted Treatment,” said Dr. Paul D. Kivela, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. “Unfortunately, even if we identify those individuals in the emergency department and schedule appointments for them with appropriately trained community providers within several days, many won’t follow-through for a number of reasons. However, if we are able to initiate the protocol and administer the first dose of the medication in the emergency department, those same patients have a much greater chance of successfully completing the treatment and getting their lives back, which is good for them, their families, and their communities.”

“The latest CDC data shows a 30 percent increase in opioid-related overdoses, making legislation that helps emergency departments guide patients who have recently overdosed to treatment more important than ever,” said Jessica Hulsey Nickel, CEO and President of the Addiction Policy Forum. “The Addiction Policy Forum whole-heartedly supports this legislation."

Background
The Centers for Disease Control released new data showing that opioid-related overdoses are up 30%. Our first responders and emergency room professionals have done an excellent job of reviving overdose patients using Naloxone, which immediately reverses the life-threatening respiratory depression associated with opioid overdoses. Programs that make these drugs available have been proven to result in fewer overdose deaths.

However, Naloxone does not address the underlying substance use disorder. A person who is resuscitated is at high risk for a subsequent overdose. A study in Maryland found that of people who suffered a fatal overdose, three in five had been seen in the Emergency Department for a nonfatal overdose in the previous year.

The Preventing Overdoses While in Emergency Rooms Act would:
• Create a coordinated care model centered around starting Medication-Assisted Treatment in the emergency room, and engaging in what is called a ‘warm hand off’ of the patient to a substance use disorder treatment provider.
• We are missing a critical opportunity to prevent repeat overdoses by following through on treatment for patients.
• Studies have shown that for non-fatal overdose patients, administering Medication-Assisted Treatment within 72 hours of the incident is cost effective as opposed to just simply referring them to outside treatment.
• By bringing these pieces together, we hope to create a care model that would prove effective nationwide.
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