WASHINGTON – The leaders of an influential House caucus, the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, announced at a press conference today that they are adding the Addiction Treatment Access Improvement Act, sponsored by Congressman Paul D. Tonko (D-NY), to their 2018 legislative agenda.
“The opioid epidemic continues to spread across New York and the country, ruining lives and ripping loved ones from their families,” said Tonko. “Last year more than 64,000 Americans died of a drug overdose, a number that continues to rise without a serious response from President Trump or his administration. In the absence of meaningful leadership from the White House, Congress can and must do more to stop this growing threat. I am grateful to the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force for their endorsement of my bill to expand access to treatment and services for countless Americans who are suffering from addiction and struggling to get the care they need to survive.”
The Bipartisan Heroin Task Force has a multi-year record of success advancing commonsense legislative solutions through a deeply divided Congress, with a handful of agenda items passed and signed into law last year and more than a dozen adopted into law the previous year.
The bill has also received support from the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the American Nurses Association, American Association of Nurse Practitioners, American Academy of Physician Assistants, the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
The Addiction Treatment Access Improvement Act builds on steps taken under the previous Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act to enable clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives, and certified registered nurse anesthetists to prescribe buprenorphine. These advanced practice nursing professionals have similar educational and training requirements as other currently eligible providers and often serve as primary care providers for vulnerable populations.
In addition, the bill would codify a 2016 regulation that expanded the number of patients qualified physicians could treat to 275 while preserving the ability of the HHS Secretary to adjust the patient limit, and make permanent the authorization that allows non-physician providers to treat patients with buprenorphine.
Congressman Paul Tonko represents New York’s 20th District, representing all of Albany and Schenectady Counties and parts of Montgomery, Rensselaer and Saratoga Counties. A member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee as well as the Science, Space and Technology Committee and the Subcommittee on Research and Technology, he is currently serving in his fifth term in Congress.
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