Nation’s Healthcare Leaders: President’s Opioid Bill Signing Is Important Step in Battle Against Addiction

Healthcare Leadership Council Calling for Further Action, Including Improved Access to Patient Data for Healthcare Professionals Treating Substance Use Disorder

WASHINGTON – President Trump’s signature on bipartisan legislation to address the nation’s opioid crisis launches an important new offensive against one of America’s most daunting public health challenges, the president of the Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC) said today, adding that more steps need to be taken to make significant inroads against drug misuse and addiction.

HLC president Mary R. Grealy said the legislative measure signed by the president will clear the way for several important actions including increased access to medication-assisted treatment, greater research investments into non-addictive pain management options, and expansion of Medicaid reimbursement for drug treatment services.

“As HHS Secretary Alex Azar pointed out this week, we’ve begun to see a leveling off of opioid addiction numbers, but that number is still far too high and we still have too many lost lives, broken families, and damaged communities,” Ms. Grealy said. “The bipartisan bill the president signed today will provide more tools for all healthcare sectors to both treat and prevent substance use disorders.”

She said, though, that Congress should continue to act on this issue.  She said, for example, it remains necessary to address current outdated privacy laws that prevent medical professionals from having the patient information necessary to effectively diagnose and treat substance abuse cases.

The Healthcare Leadership Council convened dozens of leaders from all health sectors, academia, business and government to develop a consensus package of recommendations to address the opioid crisis.  Many of those recommendations are included in the legislation signed by the president today.