Faso ap­plauds pas­sage of opi­oid bill to help se­niors

The Record (Troy, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By staff

WASHINGTOND.C. » U.S. Rep. John Faso, R-Kin­der­hook, on Wed­nes­day ap­plauded the pas­sage of H.R. 5685, the Medi­care Opi­oid Safety Ed­u­ca­tion Act of 2018 by voice vote.

This bill aims to improve ef­forts to ed­u­cate se­niors on al­ter­na­tives to tra­di­tional opi­oid pain med­i­ca­tion through the Medi­care Part D pro­gram.

Se­niors are given an in­for­ma­tional book­let en­ti­tled “Medi­care & You” prior to be­com­ing Medi­care- el­i­gi­ble that de­tails the ser­vices avail­able to them upon open­ing of en­roll­ment. Cur­rently, the word “opi­oid” ap­pears only once in the book­let. H.R. 5685 would sub­stan­tially improve opi­oid ed­u­ca­tion in the book­let by adding avail­able opi­oid al­ter­na­tives and ad­di­tional ed­u­ca­tional in­for­ma­tion.

“Nearly one in three se­niors on Medi­care Part Dwere pre­scribed an opi­oid dur­ing 2016. That statis­tic un­der­lines just how prev- alent the use of opi­oid pain killers is among se­niors, who of­ten are deal­ing with is­sues stem­ming from chronic pain,” said Faso in a re­lease. “One of the best ways to com­bat the opi­oid cri­sis is to bet­ter ed­u­cate the pub­lic on these risks, and to ed­u­cate them on al­ter­na­tives. I am glad this com­mon-sense leg­is­la­tion has passed the House and will be in­cluded in a large pack­age of opi­oid bills be­ing sent to the Sen­ate.”

H.R. 5685 is one of over two dozen bills that the House will vote on this week to fight the opi­oid cri­sis.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jim Re­nacci, R- OH, and Peter Welch, D-VT, served as orig­i­nal cospon­sors on the leg­is­la­tion. Rep. Faso in­tro­duced H.R. 5685 on May 7.

A 2017 HHS study in­di­cated that one-third of all Part D ben­e­fi­cia­ries were pre­scribed some kind of opi­oid in 2016. Close to 100,000 ben­e­fi­cia­ries were deemed to be at se­ri­ous risk due to “ex­treme” pre­scrip­tion amounts and doc­tor shop­ping.

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