Opioid Bill with Walorski Measure Named for Dr. Todd Graham Signed Into Law

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Opioid Bill with Walorski Measure Named for Dr. Todd Graham Signed Into Law

Bipartisan, Comprehensive Legislation to Combat Opioid Epidemic Includes Provisions to Improve Access to Non-Addictive Pain Treatments

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today released the following statement after bipartisan opioid legislation, which includes provisions named for Dr. Todd Graham, was signed into law:

“The opioid epidemic is taking a devastating toll on Hoosier families, but today we are taking a big step toward ending this crisis. The bipartisan, comprehensive bill just signed into law will give our communities better tools to prevent and treat addiction and assist in recovery. And it will build on the legacy of Dr. Todd Graham with provisions named in his honor.

“Before he was tragically killed last year, Dr. Graham was dedicated to treating patients not only for their pain but for the underlying causes. That is why I worked to include this measure to advance the model of care he championed. I’m hopeful this legislation will help end the opioid epidemic by improving access to non-opioid pain treatments and enabling doctors to better treat patients and prevent addiction.”

BACKGROUND

President Trump today signed the bipartisan Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6), which passed the House last month. The law includes provisions from Congresswoman Walorski’s bill, the Dr. Todd Graham Pain Management, Treatment, and Recovery Act (H.R. 6110), which passed the House unanimously in June. Video of Walorski speaking on the House floor in September ahead of the vote on H.R. 6 is available here.

The provisions named in honor of Dr. Graham aim to expand access to non-opioid alternative pain treatments and technologies. The legislation directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to solicit stakeholder feedback, study ways to improve access to non-opioid pain management treatments, and make recommendations to Congress. The study would include an evaluation of possible coverage and payment barriers that prevent Medicare beneficiaries from accessing non-opioid alternatives and steps to improve treatment strategies and case management for various high-risk populations. It would also provide best practices and educational resources for the expansion of addiction treatment for those suffering from mental or behavioral health issues, particularly in rural areas.

The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act also includes provisions to:

  • Expand access to addiction recovery services;
  • Give Medicare beneficiaries access to more treatment options such as Medication-Assisted Treatment;
  • Establish comprehensive opioid recovery centers;
  • Improve efforts to help at-risk patients;
  • Enhance prescription drug monitoring programs;
  • Support law enforcement efforts to combat dangerous drugs;
  • Prevent shipment of illicit opioids in international mail;
  • Crack down on synthetic drugs; and
  • Provide local communities additional resources to address the opioid epidemic.

Todd A. Graham, M.D., a doctor with more than three decades of service, was shot and killed on July 26th, 2017, after refusing to prescribe an opioid painkiller to the shooter’s wife. Dr. Graham was a double board-certified physician in both Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Pain Medicine.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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