CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Wednesday, May 11, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 4981, Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Expansion and Modernization Act, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 4981 was introduced on April 18, 2016 by Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN), and was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, which ordered the bill reported, as amended, by voice vote on April 27, 2016.
H.R. 4981 would amend the Controlled Substances Act to expand access to medication-assisted treatment for patients with substance use disorder while improving the quality of care and minimizing the potential for diversion. Specifically, the bill would authorize nurse practitioners and physician assistants to prescribe buprenorphine, an opioid addiction treatment medication, in addition to enhancing the training all prescribers of buprenorphine must receive before treating patients in an office-based setting.
The United States is experiencing an epidemic of drug overdose deaths. Since 2000, the rate of deaths from drug overdoses has increased 137 percent, including a 200 percent increase in the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids (opioid pain relievers and heroin). During 2014, a total of 47,055 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States, with more than 28,000 deaths involving some type of opioid, including heroin.
Buprenorphine is a narcotic used in conjunction with counseling and recovery support services to treat substance use disorder. Presently, physicians may only treat 100 patients with buprenorphine in an office setting, and nurse practitioners, along with physician assistants, are prohibited from doing so. HHS has proposed administratively raising the patient cap for physicians up to 200 patients at a given time. H.R. 4981 includes a Sense of Congress that HHS should raise this cap to 250 patients. Further, the bill would authorize nurse practitioners and physician assistants to treat up to 100 patients at a given time.
A Congressional Budget Office estimate is currently unavailable.
For questions or further information please contact Jason Grassie with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 3-1555.