House Passes O’Halleran Measures to Combat Opioid Epidemic

June 22, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON – This week, the United States House of Representatives passed legislation to combat the opioid epidemic. Included among the bills are provisions authored and introduced by Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), including the Rural DOCS Act and the ROOT Act.

“Communities across Arizona are being ravaged by opioid abuse and addiction. The lives of our children, families, and friends are at stake. As a former homicide investigator, I have seen the devastating impact of drug abuse on communities. This week, Congress took an important step in addressing this problem by focusing on the root causes of this crisis and providing long-term solutions.

“The legislation we passed included a provision I introduced that would fix a flawed patient satisfaction process that leads to the overprescription of pain medicine and another bill that would increase treatment capacity of providers in the Medicaid program for people suffering from opioid or other substance abuse disorders.”

The bipartisan Rural DOCS Act was introduced by Rep. O’Halleran in April. It creates a multi-year demonstration program for up to 10 states with high overdose rates to receive enhanced Medicaid funds to strengthen provider networks across the full continuum of care, including innovative wraparound support services for Medicaid beneficiaries. The legislation was included in H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, which passed the House today 396 –14.

The bipartisan ROOT Act was introduced by Reps. O’Halleran and Diane Black (TN-06) in May. It improves provider prescribing practices by eliminating pain questions from the current patient satisfaction survey used to determine eligibility for bonus payments. The legislation was included in the PROPER Act, introduced by Rep. Erik Paulsen (MN-03), which passed the House this week.