Coming off the heels of more than 600 physician anesthesiologists visiting Capitol Hill, two priority bills related to the opioid abuse epidemic and supported by the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) were passed out of committee with bipartisan support.
On Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Committee passed seven bills, including ASA-supported H.R. 5718, the Perioperative Reduction of Opioids (PRO) Act. Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee concluded a two-day markup encompassing more than 60 bills, including ASA-endorsed H.R. 5197, Alternatives to Opioids (ALTO) in the Emergency Department. ASA sent formal comments to both committees commending them for this work. These proposals are an important first step in ensuring federal support for opioid-reducing models of care such as the perioperative surgical home (PSH) and the recently completed ASA-Premier, Inc. “Safer Post-Operative Pain Management Reducing Opioid Related Harm” pilot.
“Physician anesthesiologists are leaders in pain management and patient safety, so we need to be closely involved in discussions related to pain care and appropriate use of opioids,” ASA President James Grant, M.D., M.B.A., FASA, said. “We are committed to finding common-sense solutions that address the opioid abuse epidemic in our nation, and we applaud these committees for taking an important step in the direction of better quality and safety of care.”
Physician anesthesiologists are experts in pain management and are uniquely suited to prevent opioid abuse and misuse by employing opioid-sparing techniques in the surgical setting. Not only do they understand the intricacies of post-surgical pain and alternative treatment options to best manage this pain, they also specialize in pain medicine and treat complex patients affected by ongoing chronic pain. During their visits on Capitol Hill, ASA members emphasized that in their role, physician anesthesiologists can work with surgeons to design pain control plans using opioid-sparing techniques, although further data is needed to establish effective strategies and best practices to minimize opioid exposure during the perioperative period and upon discharge after surgery. The ASA-supported bills that advanced in their respective committees recognize the opportunities to address potential opioid abuse or misuse related to the surgical experience which can lead to addiction, include the expertise of physician anesthesiologists in the development of best practices and support the collection of data on patient exposure to opioids.
ASA strongly supports H.R. 5718, the Perioperative Reduction of Opioids (PRO) Act, introduced by Representatives Jason Smith (R-MO) and Brian Higgins (D-NY) to establish a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Technical Expert Panel (TEP) dedicated to reducing opioids in the surgical setting and collecting data on perioperative opioid use. This panel would be convened by the HHS Secretary and tasked with providing recommendations on reducing opioid use in the surgical setting and best practices for pain management. This bill passed out of the Committee on Ways and Means with bipartisan support.
ASA also supports H.R. 5197, Alternatives to Opioids (ALTO) in the Emergency Department, which advanced with bipartisan support by Energy and Commerce last week, during the first part of the Committee’s mark-up. ALTO establishes dedicated grants for emergency departments utilizing opioid alternatives. ASA believes this bill can be expanded to include hospitals and other acute care settings, including the surgical setting, to implement best practices on the use of alternatives to opioids and data collection on opioid use. The expansion of ALTO would complement S. 2680, the Opioid Crisis Response Act, an ASA-supported bill that was reported out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.
ASA urges Congress to swiftly advance these proposals that reduce patient exposure to opioids in the surgical setting.
THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ANESTHESIOLOGISTS
Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 52,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care every patient deserves.
For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at asahq.org
. To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit asahq.org/WhenSecondsCount
. Like ASA on Facebook
, follow ASALifeline