(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Larry Bucshon, M.D. (IN-08) released the following statement after introducing legislation, the Opioid Screening and Chronic Pain Management Alternatives for Seniors Act (H.R. 5798):
“As a physician, I believe it is vital to support initiatives that will help to prevent seniors from misusing or becoming addicted to opioids while managing their chronic pain. One of the ways to address the opioid crisis is to prevent Americans from becoming addicted in the first place. By screening seniors as they enter the Medicare system, we can use this milestone as an opportunity to address their concerns and manage their chronic pain while reducing risks associated with opioid use. As opioid use disorder continues to increase among older Americans, our seniors need to understand the risks of opioid use and discuss with their physicians the best course of treatment.”
The Opioid Screening and Chronic Pain Management Alternatives for Seniors Act updates the Welcome to Medicare Initial Assessment and would require a physician to screen for opioid use, the potential for abuse, information on non-opioid alternatives, and referral to a pain specialist physician or qualified non-practitioner.
· According to HHS OIG, in 2016, 1 in 3 Medicare Part D beneficiaries received a prescription opioid, and about 500,000 beneficiaries received high amounts of opioids.