House Passes Sinema-Backed Provisions to Fight Opioid Epidemic

Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema’s (AZ-09) PASS Act passed the House today as part of a package of bills to combat the opioid crisis. Sinema co-introduced the PASS Act to crack down on overprescribing, stop the flood of opioids into Arizona communities, and help seniors fight opioid addiction. The House-passed package is now on its way to the Senate.

“Too many Arizona families have lost a loved one to our nation’s opioid epidemic,” said Congresswoman Sinema. “This commonsense legislation addresses a root cause of the opioid crisis, helping reduce overprescribing by targeting bad actors and arming doctors with more tools and information to protect their patients. We’re working across the aisle to take meaningful steps to protect Arizona communities from these deadly drugs.”

The House-passed package includes provisions from the Sinema-backed bill to help confront the opioid epidemic with a multi-pronged approach by:

  • Cracking down on doctors and providers contributing to the opioid epidemic by requiring insurance companies working within the Medicare Part D system to alert the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Studies (CMS) to doctors who overprescribe opioids for investigation;
  • Cutting down on overprescribing and educate doctors on appropriate treatments. The bill requires CMS to establish a threshold for ‘outlier prescribers,’ doctors who prescribe amounts of opioids that are outside the norm for their region or specialty. CMS will alert these doctors that they are overprescribing and address any flawed practices; and
  • Making it easier for seniors to avoid addiction and manage their prescriptions by expanding the Medication Therapy Management (MTM) program to include Medicare beneficiaries. The MTM program provides counseling that can help reduce the risks of prescription drug abuse.

Sinema has worked across the aisle to help keep illegal opioids out of Arizona communities and improve access to treatment for those suffering from addiction by: