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Giant House bill includes sober home policy

June 22, 2018
by Julie Miller, Editor in Chief
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The comprehensive opioid bill, HR6, passed in the House on Friday with a 396-14 vote. HR6 will direct some of the $4 billion that Congress previously approved as part of a long-term spending deal.

It includes a wide variety of provisions to rally providers, payers, pharmacists and federal agencies to do their part in combatting the opioid crisis. It’s uncertain when the Senate will take up the measure, but many speculate the discussion will stall until after vulnerable Democrats face voters the midterm elections in the fall. Separately, the Senate has its own slate of bills to discuss.

Here are just a few highlights from HR6:

  • HR 4684 would require SAMHSA to develop and disseminate best practices for operating recovery housing. It would represent the federal government’s most significant effort to regulate sober living.
  • HR 5102 would offer student loan repayment of up to $250,000 for those who agree to work as treatment professional in areas most in need of services.
  • HR 5009, which advocates know as “Jessie’s Law,” would require the Department of Health and Human Services to develop best practices regarding the prominent display of substance use disorder history in patient records of patients who have provided this information to a healthcare provider. It aims to prevent, for example, a family doctor from unknowingly giving a person in recovery a prescription for opioids.
  • HR 5327 would establish Comprehensive Opioid Recovery Centers that will serve as models for comprehensive treatment and recovery.
  • HR 5477 would create a five-year demonstration to increase the number of providers participating in Medicaid to provide treatment for substance use disorders. Estimates indicate the bill would increase direct spending by $301 million over the 2019 to 2028 period.

Additionally, the controversial HR 5797 will likely tag along in the final package sent to the Senate, according to BHE sources. The bill would allow Medicaid to pay for treatment in inpatient facilities with more than 16 beds, however, it limits treatment to opioid and cocaine users only.

Read the summary of HR6 here.


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