190th Session Recap: Opioid Legislation

H.4742 – An Act for prevention and access to appropriate care and treatment of addiction

Overview: This compromise language includes initiatives to promote behavioral health and prevent substance use disorders, strengthen the behavioral health system, and enhance options for substance use treatment and recovery across the Commonwealth.  Jay has supported and co-sponsored legislation, some of which was included in this bill, to improve treatment options in Massachusetts and to treat drug addiction as a health issue.

Prevention:

  • Creates the Community-Based Behavioral Health Promotion and Prevention Trust Fund to support evidence based and evidence informed programs for children and young adults.
  • Expands access to non-opioid treatment options for pain management.
  • Expands patients’ ability to partially fill opioid prescriptions.
  • Prohibits discounts and rebates for certain prescription opiates.
  • Mandates that providers check the Prescription Monitoring Program prior to issuing any prescription for benzodiazepine.
  • Establishes an Early Childhood Investment Opportunity Grant Program, which will focus on substance exposed newborns.
  • Adds healthcare providers with direct care experience to the Board of Registration in Nursing.
  • Creates a special commission to study ways to strengthen Massachusetts consumer protection laws to hold pharmaceutical corporations responsible for their role in the opioid epidemic.

Strengthening and Expanding the Behavioral Health System:

  • Strengthens Department of Mental Health and Department of Public Health licensing authority over mental health and substance use treatment facilities, giving the departments greater enforcement authority to improve quality care.
  • Requires facilities to accept MassHealth coverage on a non-discriminatory basis.
  • Allows the Office of the Child Advocate to impose temporary cost share agreements, as necessary, to ensure children’s timely access to care.
  • Establishes remote consultation programs that allow primary care and othe rproviders to consult experts in pain management and substance use disorder to improve patient care.
  • Requires electronic prescribing for all controlled substances with limited expectations effective January 1, 2020.

Treatment and Recovery:

  • Expands access to naloxone (Narcan) in the community by (1) establishing a standing order, providing access to naloxone without a prescription, (2) allowing certain Sheriffs to purchase naloxone at a lower cost through the state’s bulk purchasing program, and (3) allowing local governments and agencies to exchange unexpired naloxone.
  • Requires treatment facilities that provide mandated treatment (under section 35) and emergency rooms to provide access to evidence-based care for people struggling with opioid use disorder, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
  • Establishes a program offering MAT to persons with an opioid use disorder at 3 state prisons, as well as a pre-release program at MCI Cedar Junction, with rigorous patient protections, a warm hand-off to community treatment, and data reporting requirements.
  • Establishes a pilot program offering MAT at 5 county correctional facilities for those who received MAT prior to incarceration, as well as a pre-release program, with rigorous patient protections, a warm hand-off to community treatment, and data reporting requirements.
  • Establishes a Center for Police Training in Crisis Intervention to support cost-effective, evidence-based mental health and substance use crisis response training programs for law enforcement, providing the tools to respond appropriately to behavioral health crises.
  • Establishes a commission to make recommendations on the certification of Recovery Coaches.
  • Establishes a commission to make recommendations on harm reduction strategies to engage people at all stages of substance use disorder and encourage recovery.
  • Establishes a commission to study the efficacy of involuntary inpatient substance use treatment, including long-term relapse rates, overdose risk, legal implications, and capacity of the voluntary treatment system.

Outcome: This bill was passed in both chambers and was signed by the Governor on August 9, 2018

To read the full text of the bill, click here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *