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HELP Committee Passes Sens. Rand Paul and Edward Markey "TREAT Act"

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee passed Sen. Rand Paul (R- KY) and Sen. Ed Markey's bill (D-MA) - The Recovery Enhancement for Addiction Treatment (TREAT Act). The bipartisan TREAT Act would expand specialized treatment for prescription drug and heroin addiction.

The TREAT Act would expand the ability of addiction medical specialists and other trained medical professionals to provide life-saving medication-assisted therapies such as buprenorphine, also called Suboxone, for patients battling heroin and prescription drug addiction. This legislation would also allow qualified nurse practitioners and physician assistants the ability to prescribe this medication for the first time.

"All across Kentucky, I have heard time and time again from families and medical professionals how the federal government's arbitrary patient caps are blocking access to effective and proven treatments for those who want help, and ultimately, harming both the addicted person and their loved ones. The TREAT Act will remove a roadblock to getting people the help they need to break the cycle of addition and get on a path to recovery," said Senator Paul.

From the Paul Press Office:


Expands the maximum allowable patient cap from 100 to 500 maximum patients.

Changes the initial (first year) allowable patient load under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) from 30 to 100, and after one year a physician may request to treat up to 500 patients.

Allows certain physicians, after one year, to request to treat up to 500 patients. To be eligible:

Physicians must be substance abuse treatment specialists, as recognized by specific board or society certifications, or

Non-specialist physicians must complete 24 hours of approved training.

Physicians must also maintain records about whether they provide counseling services on site or refer patients elsewhere for such services, and how frequently such patients use those services, and the frequency with which patients terminate treatment against medical advice.

Provides states the flexibility to set the patient cap for their state at higher or lower than the cap under the CSA (but no lower than 30 patients and no more than 500). States may also set requirements about the types of facilities or practice settings physicians can use to treat addiction patients, required education, or reporting requirements.

Allows nurse practitioners (NPs) and physicians assistants (PAs) to be able to prescribe buprenorphine for opioid addiction for the first time. NPs and PAs would be qualified to treat up to 100 patients if they complete 24 hours of education on the treatment of addiction patients.

Requires HHS, after 2 years, and GAO, after 4 years, to issue reports to Congress about the effect of this legislation in terms of availability of treatment, quality of treatment programs, integration with other health care services, diversion, state-level policies, and use of nurse practitioners and physician's assistants to provide this treatment.

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