Reps. Chu and Walorski Introduce Bill to Expand Access to Opioid Alternatives

Today, Reps. Judy Chu (CA-27) and Jackie Walorski (IN-02) introduced H.R. 5722, the Dr. Todd Graham Pain Management Improvement Act. The bill, named for an Indiana doctor who was murdered for not prescribing opioid pills to a patient, would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to study potential legislative and administrative changes to Medicare to allow beneficiaries better access to non-drug alternatives to treat pain. This could include cognitive behavioral interventions, physical therapy, occupational therapy, physical medicine, biofeedback, chiropractic, and acupuncture therapy. The bill would also require HHS to develop recommendations on options for pain management therapies without the use of opioids, improved treatment strategies for beneficiaries with mental health and substance abuse disorders, appropriate case management for beneficiaries, and outreach to educate Medicare beneficiaries and providers on alternative, non-opioid therapies to manage and treat acute and chronic pain. Reps. Chu and Walorski released the following statements:

“As opioid addiction impacts families in every community across the country, it’s imperative that we find alternatives to keep more individuals from that destructive path. That starts with expanding options for patients,” said Rep. Chu. “And with millions of beneficiaries, Medicare is one of our best tools for that. When it comes to combatting this crisis, patients need to have access to every tool in the toolbox that can help treat and manage pain. I want to thank Jackie Walorski for her hard work on this bill as well. The opioid epidemic knows no partisanship, and I am proud to partner with Rep. Walorski to bring life-saving alternatives to opioids to more Americans.”

“Opioid abuse is devastating families and communities across the country, and the senseless murder of my dear friend Dr. Todd Graham was a tragic reminder of how serious this crisis is,” said Rep. Walorski. “We have already taken steps to reduce overprescribing of opioids, but we must do more to ensure patients have access to non-addictive pain management options. As we continue working toward commonsense solutions to the opioid epidemic, this bipartisan bill will help break down barriers to non-opioid treatments and give doctors better tools to prevent addiction.”

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