Nebraska AG Joins Coalition Asking Congress to Remove Opioid Use Treatment Barriers

Lincoln – Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson recently signed a joint letter to Congressional leadership in both chambers asking for the removal of federal barriers that are currently preventing health care providers from offering treatment for opioid use disorder.

The letter, led by Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter and North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, was supported by 39 attorneys general cross the country.

About 2 million Americans struggle with opioid use disorder, which is the physical and psychological reliance on opioids. Several federal barriers make it difficult for individuals with opioid use disorder to receive treatment.

The letter outlines three areas where the attorneys general are asking Congress to address:

• Replace the privacy rules contained in 42 CFR Part 2 with the effective and more familiar privacy rules contained in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA);

• Pass House Resolution 2482, the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act, which would eliminate burdens on buprenorphine prescribing imposed by the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000. Buprenorphine is one of three drugs used as part of Medication Assisted Treatment, the most effective treatment for opioid use disorder. Outdated federal requirements are discouraging doctors from prescribing this life-saving drug; and 

• Fully repeal the Medicaid Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion. The IMD exclusion prohibits state Medicaid programs from receiving federal reimbursement for adults between ages of 21 and 65 receiving mental health or substance use disorder treatment in a residential treatment facility with more than 16 beds.

– Nebraska Attorney General’s Office

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