Washington D.C. – Congressman Renacci applauded the unopposed passage of H.R. 5685, the Medicare Opioid Safety Education Act of 2018. This bill will improve efforts to educate seniors on alternatives to traditional opioid pain medication through the Medicare Part D program.
Seniors are given an informational booklet entitled ‘Medicare & You’ prior to becoming Medicare-eligible that details the services available to them upon enrollment opening and the word “opioid” appears only once in the booklet. Today’s legislation would substantially improve opioid education in the booklet by adding available opioid alternatives and additional educational information.
“Over half a million Medicare beneficiaries were written prescriptions for excessive amounts of opioids in 2016, and 90,000 beneficiaries are at serious risk of opioid misuse or overdose,” said Renacci. “We have to get out of this mindset that an opioid prescription is the first and best method of pain management. I’m pleased to be working with colleagues on introducing legislation that educates Medicare beneficiaries about the nature of opioids and alternative pain management treatments.”
H.R. 5685 is one of dozens of bills that the House will vote on this week to fight the opioid crisis.
- A 2017 HHS study indicated that one-third of all Part D beneficiaries were prescribed some kind of opioid in 2016.
- Close to 100k beneficiaries were deemed to be at serious risk due to “extreme” prescription amounts and doctor shopping.