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Congress’ Extensive Opioid Legislation Becomes Law

On Wednesday, October 24, President Trump signed the Substance Use Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6) into law.

The bill signing occurred three weeks following Congress’ overwhelming approval of the measure, and nearly one year since the Trump Administration deemed America’s opioid crisis a federal public health emergency. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chief architects of the legislation, joined patient advocates and congressional and agency leaders at the White House ceremony.

H.R. 6, which represents a bipartisan, bicameral agreement, largely modifies Medicare and Medicaid policies to better prevent and combat opioid abuse. Other elements seek to expand comprehensive substance use disorder treatment supports, particularly in local communities, as well as address associated health workforce shortages.

While House and Senate leadership embraced pre-conference discussions to allow for the swift negotiation of a final package, differing opinions on several provisions still proved contentious.

By approving a partial repeal of the decades-old Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion, conferees ultimately permitted states for five years to request Medicaid payment for 30-day inpatient addiction treatment at facilities with more than 16 beds.

Additionally, following considerable debate and stakeholder input, conferees opted not to loosen certain information-sharing amongst providers by rejecting the alignment of privacy provisions governing patient substance use disorder records with 42 CFR, Part 2 laws.

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© Copyright 2021 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLPNational Law Review, Volume VIII, Number 302
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About this Author

John E. Wyand, Squire Patton Boggs, Healthcare Lawyer, UK
Partner

John Wyand, a Partner in our Healthcare policy practice group in Washington DC, focuses on advising healthcare and life sciences companies and providers on legal, policy and regulatory issues. Additionally, he regularly assists hospitals and physician groups in developing strategies for hospital/physician alignment, mergers and acquisitions, and fraud and abuse compliance.

202 626 6676
Victoria Cram Local Government Public Policy Attorney Squire Patton Boggs Washington DC
Principal

Victoria Cram is the co-chair of the firm’s Transportation, Infrastructure & Local Government Public Policy Practice. She brings more than 25 years of federal advocacy experience representing local governments, other public sector entities and nonprofit organizations in Washington DC with a substantive background in urban policy development. She works closely with her clients to strategize on, develop and implement federal legislative and regulatory agendas.

Victoria has a robust record of advocacy on a wide range of topics including transportation and infrastructure, housing,...

202-457-6547
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