Walorski Bill to Combat Opioid Epidemic Approved by Committee

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Walorski Bill to Combat Opioid Epidemic Approved by Committee

Dr. Todd Graham Pain Management Improvement Act Would Improve Access to Non-Opioid Alternative Treatments

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today applauded committee passage of her bipartisan legislation to combat the opioid epidemic by improving access to non-opioid pain treatments.

The Dr. Todd Graham Pain Management Improvement Act (H.R. 5722), named for the South Bend doctor shot to death after refusing to write a prescription for opioid painkillers, was approved by the Ways and Means Committee as part of broader legislation to address opioid abuse. Dr. Graham’s wife Julie was in the audience as the committee voted to send the legislation to the House floor.

“Opioid abuse is a serious crisis in our communities, and we need to work together to find commonsense solutions to prevent and treat addiction,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Before he was tragically killed, Dr. Todd Graham was leading the way in treating the underlying causes of pain rather than simply prescribing pills. With this bipartisan legislation, we can give doctors better tools to treat pain and prevent addiction so they can follow Dr. Graham’s example.”

“Todd’s mission as a doctor was to help his patients by treating their pain, not just masking it,” Julie Graham said. “He understood how important non-opioid alternatives are to preventing addiction and helping people lead better lives. I can’t think of a better way to honor Todd’s legacy than to help his fellow doctors give their patients the care that’s right for them.”

BACKGROUND

Video of Congresswoman Walorski speaking about the Dr. Todd Graham Pain Management Improvement Act at the committee markup can be found here.

H.R. 5722 aims to reduce overprescribing of opioids by examining ways to expand the use of non-opioid alternatives in Medicare. It was included in the Medicare and Opioid Safe Treatment (MOST) Act (H.R. 5776), one of several bills passed by the Ways and Means Committee to address the opioid crisis.

H.R. 5722 would direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to study ways to improve access to non-opioid pain management treatments. HHS would solicit stakeholder feedback, conduct a study, and submit recommendations to Congress improving payment, coverage, and coding policies related to the use of multi-disciplinary, evidence-based non-opioid treatments for acute and chronic pain management for beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Part A or B. The study would include an evaluation of possible coverage and payment barriers that prevent Medicare beneficiaries from accessing non-opioid alternative pain treatments and technologies. More details on the legislation and the full bill text are available here.

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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