House of Representatives Advances Comprehensive Opioids Legislation with ENA-Supported Bills
June 22, 2018
Des Plaines, Ill. (June 22, 2018) – The Emergency Nurses Association applauds the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities (SUPPORT) Act (H.R. 6). This sweeping legislation included more than 50 bills, many of them bipartisan, with the intent of providing immediate support in fighting the opioid crisis that claimed more than 42,000 American lives in 2016. The SUPPORT Act recently passed the House by an overwhelming 396-14 vote.
Three important ENA-supported bills were among those included in the SUPPORT Act:
- Preventing Overdoses While in Emergency Rooms Act (POWER Act, H.R. 5176), introduced by Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., would authorize federal funds to help facilities develop protocols for discharging patients after a non-fatal overdose that improve coordination of community-based treatment for those patients. This concept, also known as a “warm handoff,” has been shown to lead to better adherence to treatment and recovery programs.
- Alternatives to Opioids in the ED Act (ALTO ED Act, H.R. 5197), sponsored by Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to run a demonstration program in which grants would be awarded to hospitals and EDs to develop, study and improve alternative pain management protocols with the goal of reducing opioid use in the ED. This provision is consistent with the joint statement ENA issued on the subject with the American College of Emergency Physicians in 2017.
- Finally, the SUPPORT Act includes language from H.R. 5329, the Poison Center Network Enhancement Act, that calls for continued federal funding to maintain and support the national poison control hotline, as well as the nation’s 55 regional poison control centers.
All three bills previously passed the House of Representatives by voice vote on June 12. ENA urges the Senate to immediately pass the SUPPORT Act before they adjourn for the August recess.