The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee recently approved the following health policy bills:

  • S. 2680, the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016 — to improve coordination between federal agencies and departments that provide grants and services for individuals with mental illness; improve accountability and evaluations of mental health programs; revise federal block grants to states for mental health care; require that federal mental health programs incorporate evidence-based approaches for treating mental illness; improve access to mental health care for various populations; improve training for individuals who treat individuals with mental illnesses and substance use disorders; and target enforcement of existing mental health parity laws. An amendment was adopted during consideration to allow prescriptions for opioid medications to be partially filled by pharmacists at the request of patients or physicians so as to reduce the number of unused painkillers.
  • S. 1455, the Recovery Enhancement for Addiction Treatment Act — to expand the ability of opioid addiction medical specialists and other trained medical professionals to provide medication-assisted therapies for treatment of drug addiction.
  • S. 2256, Co-Prescribing Saves Lives Act – to encourage physicians to co-prescribe naloxone alongside opioid prescriptions and make naloxone more widely available in federal health settings.
  • S. 480, National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Reauthorization Act — to reauthorize for five years the National All-Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting program, which provides grants to states to maintain, improve, and expand their prescription drug monitoring programs.
  • S. 2687, Plan of Safe Care Improvement Act — to improve plans of safe care under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act for infants affected by illegal substance abuse or withdrawal symptoms, or a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.