Senate Committee Introduces Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018

Posted on Monday, April 23, 2018 1:01 PM

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee formally introduced legislation last week that aims at authorizing certain hospice employees to assist with the disposal of controlled substance that were dispensed for use by the hospice patient but remain in the home when the patient has died.

The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 has been fast moving with a draft released April 4th and a refined version released April 20th and the HELP Committee announced plans to mark up the bill on Tuesday, April 24.

“Following is a summary of the provisions as they now stand:

  • Authorizes hospice employees to handle controlled substances lawfully dispensed for use by a hospice patient in order to assist with disposal of it following the patient’s death
  • Defines “employee” as a:
  • physician
  • physician Assistant
  • nurse

Who is:

  • either employed or working under arrangement for the hospice and
  • licensed or certified to perform the employment

The legislation defines a “qualified hospice program” as a hospice that:

  • has written policies and procedures for use in assisting in disposal of the controlled substances following patient’s death and
  • at time when the controlled substance is first ordered:
  • provides a written copy of the policies and procedures to the patient or representative
  • discusses the policies and procedures with the patient/representative and
  • documents in clinical record that written policies and procedures were provided and discussed, and
  • documents in clinical record list of controlled substances that were disposed

The legislation also:

  • permits the Attorney General to, by regulation, include additional types of licensed medical professionals in the definition of employee
  • indicates that registration with the DEA would NOT be required of hospice programs
  • permits the Attorney General to issue guidance to hospices to assist them in satisfying the requirements of this provision and
  • allows states to impose additional controls or restrictions

The legislation also requires a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study on hospice requirements and challenges regarding management and disposal of controlled substances in the home, including:

  • overview of challenges
  • description of requirements for hospices regarding disposal and oversight of compliance

GAO must complete the study and recommendations within 18 months following enactment of the provision.”

Source: NACH Report

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