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HOPE Agenda bills advance;
Society testifies

Society President Jerry Halverson, MD, testifies during the Senate Health and Human Services Committee’s public hearing Tuesday about the new HOPE legislation, that Rep. John Nygren introduced in September. The latest round of Heroin, Opiate Prevention and Education (HOPE) Agenda legislation received attention in both the State Senate and State Assembly this week. Society President Jerry Halverson, MD, testified at both the Assembly Health Committee and Senate Health and Human Services Committee, sharing the Society’s commitment to fighting the prescription overdose issue. As many of the bills will be amended, the Society testified for information only. (Click here to read a related Medigram story.)

On Tuesday, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee held a public hearing and vote on three of the four bills: Senate Bill 268 (which includes a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program [PDMP] review mandate for prescribers of certain drugs), Senate Bill 271 (related to methadone clinic information reporting), and Senate Bill 272 (pain clinic certification and information reporting). Doctor Halverson delivered remarks and answered questions from committee members on SB 268, as that bill most directly impacts physicians. The Society also released this media statement. While the Society is working with policymakers on refining these bills to better reflect legislative intent and minimize administrative burdens for physicians, the Senate committee approved the bills as introduced; amendments will likely be made on the Assembly companion bills.

On Wednesday, the Assembly Health Committee held its public hearing on the Assembly versions of the bills, also including Assembly Bill 365, which will allow law enforcement personnel to submit data into the state’s PDMP when pill bottle information is found at an overdose or crime scene. Doctor Halverson’s testimony was especially effective in front of the Assembly committee, as members had wide-ranging questions about addiction, electronic medical records’ ability to integrate with the PDMP and general questions about time pressures physicians can face when seeing patients. The committee is scheduled to vote Oct. 21 on any potential amendments to the four bills, with full Assembly action expected later this month. The State Senate is then expected to take up the Assembly versions of the four bills for action in that house.

Contact Mark Grapentine, JD, in the Society’s Government and Legal Affairs Department with any questions. Visit the Society’s Lobbying Tracker for information on these and other bills the Society is following.

Back to October 15, 2015 Medigram