Biden Administration Actions Support Rural Communities Battling Opioid Addiction

On November 3rd, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) shared a press release summarizing actions by the Biden Administration to support health in rural communities and rural health care providers. Two key initiatives include increasing access and payments for behavioral health services and improving access to opioid use disorder treatments. Presently, rural communities are facing higher rates of behavioral health issues and increased shortages of behavioral health providers. The Administration is supporting expansion of telehealth and mobile units, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is expanding coverage to include payments for behavioral health providers. Additionally, the FY2024 President’s Budget includes $165 million for the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP) to support prevention, health services, and medication. As part of RCORP, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is also continuing loan repayment awards for providers that are serving these communities.

Articles & Resources

HHS—The Biden Administration is taking actions to improve rural communities and help rural health care providers stay open

Bipartisan Legislation to Increase Distribution of Naloxone

Last week Representatives Reuben Gallego (AZ) and Zach Nunn (IA) introduced the Overdose Reversal Medication Act, which would require the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to publish a standard that requires employers to maintain opioid overdose reversal medications onsite, and provide training on administering treatments and recognizing signs of overdose. The bill also expands the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Grant Program to target local businesses, individuals, and communities to acquire opioid reversal treatments and training. Upon introduction, Rep. Gallego stated, “… I am proud to introduce our bipartisan bill to ensure…businesses are quipped to provide lifesaving care needed in the event of an overdose.” Actions are also being taken to allow access to naloxone in schools, federal buildings, and other public spaces.

Articles & Resources

Bill Text—Overdose Reversal Medication Act

What We Read Last Week

Several articles were published last week pertaining to the opioid epidemic, covering a variety of different components of the topic. Links to relevant articles are provided below.

CBC News—Long-term opioid users suffer with crumbling bones, brain injuries and little hope of treatment

CBC News—Republican presidential candidate proposes border wall with Canada

Government of District of Columbia—Mayor Bowser Cuts the Ribbon on the District’s Fist Stabilization Center

JAMA Health Forum—Changes in Surgical Opioid Prescribing and Patient-Reported Outcomes After Implementation of an Insurer Opioid Prescribing Limit

NBC—Why are there no treatments for cocaine and meth addiction?

Washington Post—The Hunt Quickens for Vaccines and Antibody Therapies Against Opioids

This Week’s Calendar

In the week ahead, there are no relevant events or hearings noticed at this time. In the event that there are any changes to the schedule for this week, we will make additional information available.

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