A driving force for health equity

OCHIN’s Perspective on Opioid Package: Big Wins in Health IT

Dear Valued OCHIN Members,

As you may know, HR6, The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018, was recently signed into law and includes several big wins for health technology, research, and funding.

The Opioid Package also adopted a provision of major importance to OCHIN and our members, which helps behavioral health providers acquire certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT), a provision we advocated for extensively (§ 2112). This exciting provision will provide financial support to continue onboarding those left out of Meaningful Use, which includes behavioral, mental health, and dental providers. OCHIN will continue to track the progress of this provision and keep members updated regarding any financial opportunities.

The Opioid Package includes a number of other provisions OCHIN strongly supports as well, such as:

  • Authorizes a SAMHSA grant program for opioid recovery centers (§ 1401)

  • Expands support for PDMP programs while encouraging data sharing between states (§§ 1505,1507)

  • Incentivizes opioid research to improve the national response (§§ 1506, 1504, 1511)

  • Allows telehealth services to treat substance use disorders (§ 2102)

Although OCHIN is sincerely disappointed that HR 6082, which would have amended 42 CFR Part 2, was not included in the Opioid Package, we have not given up on Part 2 reform. As part of the Partnership to Amend 42 CFR Part 2, we continue to advocate for a standalone vote on this legislation during the lame duck session.

As next steps, appropriations for HR6 are expected to begin this spring, likely in March or April. We will keep you posted of any updates on state level opportunities as appropriate.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Thank you,

Jennifer Stoll
VP, Government Affairs and Public Relations