Bustos included key provisions to increase access for treatment in rural communities and protect children born with opioid dependence
WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos released the following statement regarding the passage of the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act in the House, a bipartisan package of legislation designed to address the opioid epidemic that included two key provisions originally introduced by Congresswoman Bustos.
“The opioid epidemic has torn apart far too many families and taken too many lives across the Midwest, but I’m pleased that we were able to work across the aisle today to fight back,” said Bustos. “Rural communities are disproportionately affected by this crisis, which is why I worked to include legislation that improves the way telemedicine is being implemented to increase access to treatment in underserved areas. There is almost nothing more heartbreaking than seeing a baby born with an addiction to opioids which is why I included another bill to improve the way they are treated. I hope this legislation is quickly passed in the Senate and signed into law to bring resources to those in need.”
The passage of this opioid package follows a joint press conference Congresswoman Bustos held with Senator Durbin last week to address the opioid epidemic and the work they have done to combat it. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have recently taken up legislation in response to the opioid epidemic and today’s legislation is the culmination of that work. The package will now head to the Senate for a vote before being sent to the President’s desk.
Included in the package is the Special Registration for Telemedicine Clarification Act, which is designed to increase access to treatment for those suffering from opioids and other addictions. Specifically, this legislation instructs the Attorney General to take the necessary steps to allow for the prescription of medication-assisted treatment and other controlled substances via telemedicine. Physicians and health care providers will need to undergo special registration in order to participate in this program.
Also included was the Preventing NAS and Protecting Babies Act, which would improve treatment options for babies born with dependence on heroin or other opioids due to their mother’s use while pregnant. As a result, the Department of Health and Human Services will be required to submit a strategy to Congress to implement recommendations from a report, which related to parental opioid use and neonatal abstinence syndrome.