June 20, 2014
Around the Agencies
- ONDCP hosts summit on heroin and prescription drug abuse
- CMS launches “From Coverage to Care” to assist consumers with new health coverage
- The National Institutes of Health release resource to help older adults stop smoking
Capitol Hill News
- Sen. Hatch (UT) and Sen. Levin (MI) host Senate forum on buprenorphine
- Friends of NIDA host Congressional briefing, “Marijuana: Health Effects, Changing Patterns of Use and Societal Impact”
- Upcoming webinar “Building a State Health Workforce Center: Lessons Learned in the Carolinas”
- The National Health Policy Forum host meeting on “Controlling Opioid Drug Excess: Health Plan Interventions”
- Applications to BHbusiness Plus open through August 15th
Around the Agencies
ONDCP hosts summit on heroin and prescription drug abuse
Robert Morrison, Executive Director presented at the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s (ONDCP) summit on heroin and prescription drug abuse on June 19th. Mr. Morrison reviewed NASADAD’s report that was released just weeks ago detailing the actions that State substance abuse agencies have taken to address heroin and prescription drug abuse. The report found that 42 States categorize prescription drug abuse as “most” or “very” important, and that 37 States have seen increases in admissions to treatment for heroin abuse during the past two years. Mr. Morrison’s presentation was followed by two panels: “Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment” and “Overdose and Infectious Disease Prevention.” Other presenters included ONDCP Acting Director Michael Botticelli, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Governor Peter Shumlin (VT), and representatives from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT). Presenters discussed national opioid abuse trends and sought to “identify innovative practices and models, and discuss how practitioners at every level can help reduce overdose deaths and public health consequences” (Federal Register notice).
View the webcast at: https://www.youtube.com/ONDCP. There are multiple video clips uploaded to the site, NASADAD’s presentation is labeled: “Rx Drug and Heroin Epidemic in the States.”
Also check out NASADAD’s inquiry report on State responses to prescription drug and heroin abuse.
CMS launches “From Coverage to Care” to assist consumers with new health coverage
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released their web-based resource, From Coverage to Care (C2C), “which is designed to help answer questions that people may have about their new health coverage, to help them make the most of their new benefits, including taking full advantage of primary care and preventive services. It also seeks to give health care providers the tools they need to promote patient engagement” (CMS press release). The website contains a variety of educational videos and other resources such as the Roadmap to Better Care and a Healthier You, which helps consumers and providers understand the terms and benefits of their new coverage, including how to use those benefits to seek primary care and preventive services. These and other resources are available on the C2C website.
The National Institutes of Health release resource to help older adults stop smoking
The web-based resource, “Quitting Smoking for Older Adults” features videos, worksheets, health information, quitting strategies, and other resources for older adults who want to quit smoking. The latest Surgeon General’s report, The Health Consequences of Smoking – 50 Years of Progress “provides new data that links smoking to bone disease, cataract, diabetes, macular degeneration, and erectile dysfunction. Research shows that people who quit smoking, regardless of their age, are less likely than those who continue to smoke to die from smoking-related illness. Although the rates of smoking have declined in recent years for all age groups, nearly 10 percent of adults over 65 – almost 4 million older Americans – continue to smoke” (NIH Press Release).
Capitol Hill News
Sen. Hatch (UT) and Sen. Levin (MI) host Senate forum on buprenorphine
Robert Morrison, Executive Director and Colleen Haller, Public Policy Associate attended the forum convened by Senators Hatch and Levin on June 18th and titled “Buprenorphine in the Treatment of Opioid Addiction: Successes and the Impediments of Expanded Access.” Panelists (complete list of panelists below) were asked to discuss the benefits of medication-assisted treatment, particularly buprenorphine, and the challenges associated with expanding access to buprenorphine. Senator Levin expressed an interest in identifying clear action steps that could be taken at the federal level to expand access to buprenorphine. Of particular concern were identifying ways to reduce physician barriers to becoming buprenorphine prescribers, discussing the 100 patient limit and potential modifications, and strategies to improve coverage for buprenorphine treatment for patients with private insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare. A variety of strategies were discussed and participants agreed that the ultimate goal should be to expand quality access to buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid use disorders.
- Michael Botticelli, Acting Director, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)
- June Sivilli, Chief, Treatment Branch, Office of Demand Reduction, ONDCP
- Jayme Delano, Policy Analyst, ONDCP
- Dr. Nora Volkow, Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
- Dr. Jack Stein, Director, Office of Science Policy and Communications, NIDA
- Dr. Westley Clark, Director, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, Chief Medical Officer, SAMHSA
- Dr. Andrew Kolodny, Medical Director, Phoenix House Foundation; President, Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing
- Dr. John Kitzmiller, Certified Buprenorphine Prescriber, Lake Orion, Michigan
- Dr. Corey Waller, American Society for Addiction Medicine (ASAM)
- Colleen LaBelle, Program Director, State Technical Assistance Treatment Expansion Office Based Opioid Treatment with Buprenorphine
- Two buprenorphine patients in recovery
Also check out NASADAD’s consensus statement on medication-assisted treatment.
Friends of NIDA host Congressional briefing, “Marijuana: Health Effects, Changing Patterns of Use and Societal Impact”
Colleen Haller, Public Policy Associate attended the briefing hosted by Friends of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in conjunction with the Addiction, Treatment, and Recovery Caucus on Thursday 19th. Members of the Congressional Caucus were also in attendance including Rep. John Fleming (LA), Rep. Paul Tonko (NY), and Rep. Andy Harris (MD). Topics covered include youth perceptions of marijuana use risk, marijuana’s changing legal status, and the long-term effects of increased marijuana use on individuals’ health and society. Presentations were made by:
- Wilson Compton, MD, Deputy Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, will provide an overview of NIDA’s current and planned portfolio on marijuana research as well as scientific information on what we know about the health effects of marijuana use.
- Robert Booth, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, University of Colorado School of Medicine, will discuss results from his NIDA-funded research on changing patterns of marijuana use and its consequences.
- Former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, Co-Founder Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana).
Upcoming webinar “Building a State Health Workforce Center: Lessons Learned in the Carolinas”
The webinar will be held on June 25th at 2 pm EST and will feature a presentation by Linda M. Lacey, Director of the Office for Healthcare Workforce Analysis and Planning in South Carolina. Ms. Lacey has been part of the development process of two health workforce centers, one for the North Carolina nursing workforce and one working with all health worker groups in South Carolina. She will share her experience in working on these two projects and any important lessons learned. This webinar will be hosted by the Health Workforce Technical Assistance Center (HWTAC) and does not require prior registration.
The National Health Policy Forum held a meeting on “Controlling Opioid Drug Excess: Health Plan Interventions”
Colleen Haller, Public Policy Associate attended the National Health Policy Forum’s discussion called “Controlling Opioid Drug Excess: Health Plan Interventions” on June 20th. The event was moderated by Judith Miller Jones, Director of the National Health Policy Forum and features presentations from four health plans: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Florida Blue, Humana Pharmacy Solutions, and the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (complete list of the presenters below). The presentations focused primarily on supply-side solutions to the opioid pain reliever epidemic that health plans have undertaken, including prescriber and patient education, prescription drug utilization monitoring, and collaborating with pharmacies. Each of the panelists discussed these efforts in relation to commercial insurance plans, Medicare Part D, Medicaid, and dual-eligible populations.
- Thomas Kowalski, RPh; Clinical Pharmacy Director, Health and Medical Management; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
- Cynthia Griffin, PharmD; Senior Director, Pharmacy Government Programs; Florida Blue
- Kim Caldwell, RPh; Director of Pharmacy Professional Affairs; Humana Pharmacy Solutions
- Deborah Kilstein, JD, MBA; Vice President, Quality Management and Operational Support; Association for Community Affiliated Plans
Applications to BHbusiness Plus open through August 15th
BHbusiness is accepting applications now through August 15th for round one learning networks to be held in October 2014 (rounds two and three will be held in winter and spring 2015, respectively). Applicants can join a learning network in two ways: as an individual provider who will be placed into a network or as a convener or group of providers to form a network. Single State Agencies (SSAs), State Mental Health Agencies, and ATTCs are all potential conveners. These learning networks offer more customized technical assistance with shorter time periods. Covered topics include “billing, third-party contract negotiations, new business planning, mergers and acquisitions, enrollment and eligibility, and much more” (BHbusiness press release).