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Toomey, Manchin, Rouda, and Mullin Team Up to Help Overdose Victims

U.S. Senators Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and U.S. Representatives Harley Rouda (D-Calif. 48th) and Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla. 2nd) are working together to provide greater assistance to individuals who have struggled with opioid misuse and abuse.


The Improving Medicaid Programs’ Response to Overdose Victims and Enhancing (IMPROVE) Addiction Care Act would require state Medicaid programs to use jointly-funded drug utilization review programs to increase access to treatment and boost safeguards for those on Medicaid who have experienced a non-fatal, opioid-related overdose. The legislation would close a dangerous information gap that keeps prescribers uninformed about a patient who overdoses.


In 2018, Congress passed the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act resulting in Medicare Part D plan sponsors being notified of individuals with a history of opioid-related overdose—no notification or case management was previously required solely based on previous non-fatal overdose occurrence, despite studies linking previous non-fatal overdoses to subsequent fatal overdoses.


“No corner of Pennsylvania has been spared from the opioid epidemic,” said Senator Toomey. “Physicians need to know if they’ve prescribed a lethal dose of opioids to a patient. The IMPROVE Addiction Care Act will ultimately promote better prescribing habits and help those battling addiction get the care they clearly need. I thank Senator Manchin and Representatives Rouda and Mullin for working with me on this bipartisan bill, and I hope we are able to get this to the president’s desk before the end of the year.”


“Every West Virginian has experienced the impacts of the opioid epidemic on our family, friends, and neighbors. Today I joined my bipartisan, bicameral colleagues in introducing the IMPROVE Addiction Care Act to strengthen Drug Utilization Review programs across the nation to prevent opioid overdoses by helping to better connect Medicaid patients to treatment options. Americans who have overdosed need our help getting back on their feet through treatment programs, and I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers to support this commonsense legislation,” said Senator Manchin

"Orange County has the highest opioid overdose mortality rate in Southern California. I am proud to join Senator Toomey, Senator Manchin, and Representative Mullin in this bipartisan effort to close dangerous prescription loopholes, increase access to treatment, and save lives," said Representative Rouda. "The IMPROVE Addiction Care Act is a strategic and cost-effective measure to connect struggling Americans with crucial medical care. Congress must pass this bill to help end a devastating public health crisis in Orange County and across the United States."


“In order to safely and effectively treat a patient who has previously experienced a non-fatal overdose, it is critical prescribers have access to their patient’s overdose history in order to prevent it from happening again,” said Representative Mullin. “This legislation breaks down barriers to help Medicaid beneficiaries get access to the treatment they need and ensure providers have a clear picture of the patient’s history with opioid-related overdoses. We all know someone who has been affected by the opioid epidemic, whether it’s a family member or loved one, and it’s going to take all of us working together to put an end to this crisis.”


Specifically, the IMPROVE Addiction Care Act requires that states use drug utilization review programs to:

  • Alert: Ensure that doctors are aware if their Medicaid-enrolled patient has suffered a previous nonfatal overdose and alert the prescriber when one of their patients suffers a fatal overdose
  • Treat: Connect recent opioid overdose survivors who receive Medicaid benefits with treatment opportunities
  • Educate: Perform ongoing reviews and offer provider education


recent study of 3,606 Medicaid-enrolled adolescents (ages 13-22) who experienced an opioid-related overdose found that only one in 54 received medication-assisted treatment and less than one in three received any treatment whatsoever. Equally concerning, Medicaid beneficiaries often continue receiving legal opioid prescriptions even after suffering a nonfatal, opioid-related overdose. Approximately 60 percent of Pennsylvania Medicaid beneficiaries who suffered a nonfatal overdose between 2007 and 2013 received another legal opioid analgesic prescription within six months.  Boston University and Harvard Medical School found that 91 percent of patients who suffered an opioid-related overdose between 2000 and 2012 received another legal opioid prescription within a year.


You may view the full text here. A one page summary is also available here


Supporting Organizations include: 

  • Opioid Safety Alliance
  • Society of Behavioral Medicine
  • American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry
  • Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC)
  • American Society of Addiction Medicine


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