September 25, 2020

Manchin Bill To Help Opioid Overdose Victims In West Virginia

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) led a bicameral, bipartisan group of Members of Congress in introducing the Improving Medicaid Programs’ Response to Overdose Victims and Enhancing (IMPROVE) Addiction Care Act to provide greater assistance to individuals who have struggled with opioid misuse and abuse.

The IMPROVE Addiction Care Act would require state Medicaid programs to use jointly-funded drug utilization review programs to increase access to treatment and boost safeguards for those on Medicaid who have experienced a non-fatal, opioid-related overdose. The legislation would close a dangerous information gap that keeps prescribers uninformed about a patient who overdoses.

“Every West Virginian has experienced the impacts of the opioid epidemic on our family, friends, and neighbors. Today I joined my bipartisan, bicameral colleagues in introducing the IMPROVE Addiction Care Act to strengthen Drug Utilization Review programs across the nation to prevent opioid overdoses by helping to better connect Medicaid patients to treatment options. Americans who have overdosed need our help getting back on their feet through treatment programs, and I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers to support this commonsense legislation,” said Senator Manchin

Specifically, the IMPROVE Addiction Care Act requires that states use drug utilization review programs to:

  • Alert: Ensure that doctors are aware if their Medicaid-enrolled patient has suffered a previous nonfatal overdose and alert the prescriber when one of their patients suffers a fatal overdose
  • Treat: Connect recent opioid overdose survivors who receive Medicaid benefits with treatment opportunities
  • Educate: Perform ongoing reviews and offer provider education

In 2018, Congress passed the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act resulting in Medicare Part D plan sponsors being notified of individuals with a history of opioid-related overdose—no notification or case management was previously required solely based on previous non-fatal overdose occurrence, despite studies linking previous non-fatal overdoses to subsequent fatal overdoses.

recent study of 3,606 Medicaid-enrolled adolescents (ages 13-22) who experienced an opioid-related overdose found that only one in 54 received medication-assisted treatment and less than one in three received any treatment whatsoever. Equally concerning, Medicaid beneficiaries often continue receiving legal opioid prescriptions even after suffering a nonfatal, opioid-related overdose. In West Virginia, 91% of drug overdose deaths between 2001-2017 had a documented history of receiving a controlled substance prescription, with 36-49% of those who died having refilled their prescriptions within 30 days. Boston University and Harvard Medical School found that 91% of patients who suffered an opioid-related overdose between 2000 and 2012 received another legal opioid prescription within a year.

One pager on the IMPROVE Addiction Care Act can be found here.

Bill text can be found here