Ways & Means Committee Advances Kelly Bill to Protect Seniors from Opioid Abuse

May 16, 2018 Issues: Health Care

Bipartisan legislation part of committee-approved package to combat national opioid crisis

WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – issued the following statement today after the conclusion of today’s full committee mark-up hearing to approve a series of legislation to combat the nationwide opioid crisis, including the Preventing Addiction for Susceptible Seniors (PASS) Act (H.R. 5773), which includes a bipartisan bill previously introduced by Rep. Kelly known as the Protecting Seniors from Opioid Abuse Act. (H.R. 5684).

Statement by Rep. Kelly:

“The opioid epidemic is killing 116 Americans every day. Very sadly, Western Pennsylvania is all too familiar with this crisis, and our communities are working together to fight it—but they need help. With today’s package, we have real bipartisan solutions to help our family members, friends, and neighbors defeat their addictions and stay protected from abuse.

“The Protecting Seniors From Opioid Abuse Act is a bipartisan bill that I proudly introduced to help vulnerable seniors manage their medications and avoid prescription drug abuse. This simple bill gives seniors who are at-risk for prescription drug abuse access to Medication Therapy Management. This successful program allows seniors to sit down with a pharmacist or other health professional and receive expert advice on how to manage their prescriptions.

“The Center Medicare and Medicaid Services has already identified that this approach works to reduce opioid overuse and avoid dangerous drug interactions. Expanding access to Medication Therapy Management for at-risk beneficiaries will ensure that these dangerous drugs are used properly before dependency and addiction can develop.”

NOTE: Rep. Kelly introduced H.R. 5684 on May 7, 2018, with U.S. Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Michael Doyle (D-PA). The legislation would expand eligibility to Medication Therapy Management (MTM) programs for Medicare beneficiaries who are at-risk for prescription drug abuse as determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). It was marked up by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on May 9, 2018.

BACKGROUND

Medicare currently offers MTM programs for beneficiaries with complex health needs. This program helps beneficiaries and their doctor make sure that their medications are working to improve their health. With MTM, a pharmacist or other health professional can give beneficiaries a comprehensive review of all their medications and talk with them about: how well their medications are working; whether their medications have side effects; if there might be interactions between drugs; and other problems they may be having. Beneficiaries then receive a written summary of this discussion, including an action plan that recommends what they can do to make the best use of your medications. They also receive a personal list of all the medications they are taking and an explanation of why they are taking each of them.

Currently, this program is only available for certain Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions or those taking several medications — but the program could also be used to help prevent opioid abuse by at-risk beneficiaries. In fact, CMS encourages but does not require plans to offer MTM services to beneficiaries who meet the plan’s criteria for opioid overutilization.

Expanding access to the Medication Therapy Management program for Medicare beneficiaries who are at-risk for prescription drug abuse will allow them to sit down with a pharmacist or other health professional and receive expert advice on how to manage their prescriptions. These seniors will benefit from MTM services such as comprehensive medication review, targeted medication review, and interventions with their prescribers.

 

###