Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today announced that the Finance Committee included two of his bills, the Every Prescription Conveyed Securely (EPCS) Act and the Assessing Barriers to Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Act, in its legislative package to combat the opioid crisis.
“Coloradans deserve action from Congress to address the opioid epidemic comprehensively,” said Bennet. “By using electronic prescribing for opioids and other controlled substances, we will reduce the number of fraudulent and inappropriate prescriptions, while also saving taxpayer dollars. And by studying barriers that prevent physicians from obtaining opioid addiction treatments that they administer in their office, we can hopefully improve access to treatment. These are small but meaningful steps, and they must be paired with the resources needed to reverse the alarming trends of this epidemic in order to save lives.”
Requiring Electronic Prescriptions
The EPCS Act aims to reduce the number of opioids obtained through fraudulent prescriptions or “doctor shopping”—consulting multiple doctors to abuse prescriptions. The legislation would direct health care providers to use electronic prescribing for controlled substances for Medicare Part D transactions beginning in 2021. Electronic prescriptions would generate real-time information on opioid use and streamline the prescription process for both providers and their patients. According to the Congressional Budget Office, this would save taxpayers $250 million.
A copy of the EPCS Act is available HERE.
Assessing Barriers to Treatment
The Assessing Barriers to Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Act would require the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study on barriers that prevent physicians from obtaining opioid addiction treatments that they administer in their office. Distribution practices will be evaluated on three criteria: how the model affects Medicaid beneficiaries’ access to treatments for substance use disorders; the cost to Medicaid; and the effect of the model on providers’ willingness to administer or prescribe these treatments.
A copy of the Assessing Barriers to Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Act is available HERE.
In April, Bennet secured three provisions in the bipartisan Opioid Crisis Response Act, which unanimously passed the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP).