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September 2015
In this Issue

  • New Law to Tackle Illinois’ Serious Problem with Heroin, Opioid Abuse

    Earlier this month, Illinois’ House and Senate voted to override Governor Rauner’s amendatory veto of House Bill 1, a comprehensive legislative package designed to address heroin and opioid abuse/addiction in Illinois (view House votes and Senate votes).

    That means that the vetoed provisions, which primarily relate to coverage for addiction treatment services within the Medicaid program, are restored and House Bill 1 is now law.

    ISMS was among several organizations and individuals who testified before the House Bipartisan Heroin Crisis Task Force, which crafted the framework for this legislation.

    We also played a key role in amending the bill with the removal of provisions that would have imposed unnecessary burdens on physicians and criminalized the practice of medicine. ISMS helped to thwart provisions that would have required physicians to take continuing medical education on the dangers of opioids and drug addiction, offer mental health screening prior to prescribing opioids, and limit the amount of opioids prescribed.

    Furthermore, ISMS blocked a provision that would have granted the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) broad authority to track physicians’ prescribing habits as reported by the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), potentially using that information in disciplinary proceedings.

    As enacted, this legislation includes many positive provisions to address opioid and heroin abuse, addiction and overdose. The new law: 

    • Improves the Prescription Monitoring Program, which will serve as a clinical tool for physicians and other prescribers.
    • Requires that every law enforcement officer and firefighter in Illinois be trained to use and have access to opioid antagonists.  
    • Amends the insurance code to make many changes regarding coverage for addiction treatment and mental health services.

    Read ISMS’ comprehensive analysis of House Bill 1. 

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