WASHINGTON D.C — Bucks County Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), and Mike Thompson (D-CA) authored a bill to help medical professionals implement best practices for prescribing opioids. Their REACH OUT Act unanimously passed the Energy and Commerce Committee and will be considered by the full House of Representatives this month.
Fitzpatrick said, “I was proud to co-sponsor the REACH OUT Act and ensure we are facilitating necessary outreach and education about non-opioid alternatives for pain management to reduce the number of opioids being prescribed.”
The Reach Out bill, or the Responsible Education Achieves Care and Healthy Outcomes for Users’ Treatment, H.R. 5796, will direct the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to work with eligible entities, including Quality Improvement Organizations, to engage in outreach with prescribers.
The bipartisan REACH OUT Act received the endorsement of the American Health Quality Association that pointed to Congressman Fitzpatrick’s leadership in fighting for the needed resources to combat a rising opioid abuse epidemic.
The Association noted in its release that opioids account for an astonishing 39 million Medicare Part D claims each year. Meanwhile, Centers for Disease Control data indicates that 90,000 patients in the U.S. currently are at serious risk from opioids.
The Fitzpatrick, Curbelo and Thompson legislation would build on lessons learned by spreading best practices for preventing prescription abuse, providing outreach and education about non-opioid pain management and reducing the number of opioids prescribed by outlier prescribers. (An outlier prescriber is identified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services as one who prescribes an excessive number of opioids as compared to other prescribers in their medical specialty and geographic area.)
“As an EMT and vice-chair of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, I’m working each day to find new ways to tackle the opioid epidemic head on,” Fitzpatrick said. “We need to ensure that our medical professionals possess the latest best practices for preventing prescription abuse, including non-opioid pain management. . .Those medical professionals who prescribe opioids are key stakeholders to help reduce and prevent, inappropriate opioid prescriptions.” -PW