Two bills supported by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee to address the recent increase in drug overdose deaths in the region have been signed into law, and a third was passed by the Assembly and awaits the governor’s action.
The Health and Human Services Committee, led by Chairman Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence) promoted the bills to address a crisis of overdose deaths in the region this year.
One of the bills signed into law addresses health insurance coverage for people with opioid substance use disorder and chronic addiction. Sponsored by Sen. Paul V. Jabour (D-Dist. 5, Providence) and Rep. Patricia A. Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick), the bill (2014-S 2801Aaa, 2014-H 8042A) would:
Provide patients with substance use disorders with information they need about critical services, when they need it most – when they are being discharged from a hospital. The legislation outlines a process that hospitals can use to make sure that patients with substance use disorders leave with real-time information in hand about community-based facilities and providers that have openings for them. As they leave, patients would also have a follow-up appointment scheduled for them with licensed professionals who understand substance use disorders.
Legislation (2014-S 2523A, 2014-H 7574A) sponsored by Sen. Christopher Scott Ottiano (R-Dist. 11, Portsmouth, Bristol) and Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) to address prescription drug diversion has also become law. The law amends Rhode Island’s electronic prescription drug monitoring program in two ways:
Additionally the General Assembly has approved a bill (2014-S 2561, 2014-H 8142) sponsored by Sen. Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence) and Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) that would require the Department of Health to promulgate rules and regulations regarding electronic data transmissions, including faxes, of prescriptions for controlled substances. That bill is now on its way to the governor.