Congressman Michael Turner

Representing the 10th District of Ohio

TURNER Reintroduces Bipartisan Legislation to Treat Opioid Addiction

May 2, 2019
Press Release

Today Congressman Mike Turner (OH-10) reintroduced The Reforming and Expanding Access to Treatment (TREAT) Act, a bipartisan bill designed to expand access to treatment and increase flexibility in how existing federal funding can be used to combat the opioid epidemic.

“This issue was first brought to my attention at the Greene County Jail, where I was informed that Medicaid-eligible individuals lose access to opiate abuse and addiction treatment options upon incarceration,” said Turner. “Since then, I have aggressively pushed for legislation to fix this. Maintaining an uninterrupted course of substance abuse treatment during incarceration is imperative to ensure successful rehabilitation, prevent deadly overdose upon re-entering society, and avoid recidivism. I look forward to continuing my work with local leaders and organizations to end this deadly epidemic, and I urge swift passage of this bipartisan legislation.”

BACKGROUND

The TREAT Act would amend the Social Security Act to permit the Medicaid program to pay for substance abuse treatment services incurred by individuals who are incarcerated but otherwise eligible. By removing this barrier that interferes with – and even prevents –medical interventions for opioid abuse, we can help individuals maintain continuity of drug addiction treatment services regardless of setting. The bill would also remove an archaic, internal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) policy that prohibits using grants from its Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) to combat opiate abuse among incarcerated populations. Under TREAT, these grants could be used in both community-based and institutional settings. Since it was first introduced in the 114th Congress, TREAT has enjoyed bipartisan backing.

In past Congresses, TREAT Act garnered endorsements from the following organizations:

·       Ohio High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program

·       Buckeye Sheriffs Association (OH)

·       Greene County (OH) Prosecutor

·       Greene County (OH) Board of Commissioners

·       Greater Miami Valley (OH) Emergency Medical Services Council

·       County Commissioners Association of Ohio

·       National Association of Counties (NACo)

·       CorJus, Inc. (representing ten of Ohio’s publicly operated community correctional facilities)

·       Miami Township (OH) Board of Trustees

·       City of Dayton

Areas of Impact

·       Under current law, the Social Security Act’s Medicaid provisions bar the program from paying for substance abuse treatment services for persons in prison or jail. Additionally, Medicaid’s Institution for Mental Disease (IMD) exclusion precludes facilities with more than sixteen beds from being reimbursed for furnishing substance abuse treatment services, even when individuals would be eligible but for their incarceration. Under this bill, substance abuse treatment provided at correctional institutions would become eligible for reimbursement.

·       The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) prohibits the use of grants from its Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) for substance abuse treatment services provided to individuals who are incarcerated. Under this bill, these resources will be made available to individuals in both community-based and institutional settings.

Congressman Turner has been fighting the opioid epidemic in Dayton since 2013:

December 18, 2013: Toured Soin Medical Center, where issue of Heroin-Exposed Newborns was raised.

June 30, 2014: Held a Community Forum on the Effects of the Heroin Epidemic on Newborns.

August 21, 2015: Toured Greene County Jail and Green Leaf Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program; met with criminal justice system administrators and substance abuse and mental health leadership.

November 18, 2015: Met with ONDCP Director Michael Botticelli and introduced the TREAT Act with Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) and Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (MA-3).

August 29, 2016: Hosted a Heroin Epidemic Response Roundtable in Dayton with Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05), lead author of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA).

October 28, 2016: Hosted a roundtable discussion on the opioid and heroin epidemic in Dayton with Senator Rob Portman (OH).

February 2, 2017: Joined the bipartisan Addiction, Treatment, and Recovery Caucus.

February 7, 2017: Reintroduced the TREAT Act.

March 29, 2017: Joined Congressional appropriations request letter to House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health & Human Services (HHS), Education, and Related Agencies expressing strong support for FY2018 funding to implement CARA.

April 12, 2017: Joined Congressional letter to HHS Secretary Tom Price urging full implementation of section 303 of the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act of 2016 (CARA). Section 303 of CARA modernized the Controlled Substances Act and office-based opioid addiction treatment laws by ensuring that patients are offered, and physicians trained, on all FDA-approved treatments.

May 22, 2017: Joined Congressional letter to President Trump asking for support for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) within the Administration’s FY2018 Budget Request.

August 7, 2017: TREAT Act concept supported by President Donald Trump’s Commission to Combat Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.

August 22, 2017: Joined Congressional letter to President Trump urging Administration to follow recommendations made by the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis to lift the Institution for Mental Disease (IMD) exclusion within the Medicaid program in order to expand access to substance abuse treatment services.

September 20, 2017: Helped secure funding for the Community Action Commission of Fayette County to help prevent youth substance abuse.

September 25, 2017: Held an opioid prevention forum with local leaders and joined Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer in calling for a Dayton Region Drug Czar.

October 5, 2017: Sent a letter with Sheriff Plummer to Phil Parker, President and CEO of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, and Jeff Hoagland, President and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition, asking for a recommendation in identifying possible candidates for a Dayton Region Drug Czar.

October 11, 2017: Testified on TREAT Act and opioid crisis in OH-10 at House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health.

December 11, 2017: Joined Congressional letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requesting a comprehensive funding proposal for additional resources needed to address the opioid epidemic.

December 12, 2017: Sent a letter with Ranking Member Seth Moulton (MA-6) of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations to Secretary of Defense James Mattis expressing concern about the Department of Defense’s (DoD) practice of reporting prescriptions, particularly regarding opioids.

December 12, 2017: Led a Congressional letter to several House Committees with jurisdiction over opioid-related policy issues urging them to implement the legislative elements of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis’ Final Report.

January 10, 2018: TREAT Act and CRIB Act included in Bipartisan Heroin Task Force Legislative Agenda.

January 19, 2018: Joined Bipartisan Heroin Task Force letter to President urging U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to renew the public health emergency previously declared for the opioid epidemic.

February 2, 2018: Joined Congressional letter to Congressional leadership requesting additional funding to support the President’s public health emergency declaration for the opioid epidemic.

February 12, 2018: Joined Ohio Congressional delegation letter requesting further information from the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) regarding how it approves Stave-level training courses, which are federally-funded, for different methods of opiate addiction/abuse treatment, including use of medications like methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone.

March 2, 2018: Joined Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar in touring and participating in a roundtable discussion at Brigid’s Path.

April 18, 2018: Joined as Republican co-lead of the Medicaid Reentry Act, introduced by Congressman Paul Tonko (NY-20), to permit Medicaid to reimburse for substance abuse treatment services furnished to individuals during the 30 days prior to release from incarceration.

May 4, 2018: Re-visited Greene County Jail with Sheriff Gene Fischer and the Greene County Commissioners to discuss the Medicaid Reentry Act.

May 17, 2018: Reps. Turner and Tonko’s modified Medicaid Reentry Act advances out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

June 19, 2018: Reps. Turner and Tonko’s modified Medicaid Reentry Act passes House by voice vote.

June 22, 2018: Voted in favor of H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, major House legislative package to combat opioid epidemic for the 115th Congress.

September 28, 2018: Voted in favor of the modified version of H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, containing Rep. Turner’s amended CRIB Act and amended Medicaid Reentry Act. The modified version of H.R. 6 passes the House 393-8.

October 1, 2018: Rep. Turner co-leads Congressional letter to House & Senate Appropriations Committee leaders, urging robust funding in the FY2019 Appropriations bill to expand medication-assisted treatment for individuals who are incarcerated.

October 24, 2018: President signs H.R. 6 into law, which contains Rep. Turner’s amended CRIB Act and takes steps toward accomplishing the policy objectives set out by Rep. Turner’s TREAT Act and Rep. Tonko’s Medicaid Reentry Act (where Rep. Turner acted as lead Republican).

November 30, 2018: Rep. Turner co-leads follow-up Congressional letter to House & Senate Appropriations Committee leaders, urging robust funding in the FY2019 Appropriations bill to expand medication-assisted treatment for individuals who are incarcerated.

December 7, 2018: Rep. Turner joins Ohio Congressional delegation letter to HHS, National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and SAMHSA expressing support that they select Ohio as a research site for HEALing Communities Study to assess and improve responses to the opioid epidemic.

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