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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: March 6, 2018 11:52 AM
From: Representative Jason Ortitay
To: All House members
Subject: Opioid Reform Package
I plan to introduce a two bill package to combat addiction. Pennsylvania is seeing an increase in overdose deaths even as other states are experiencing a downturn. I believe this turn of events requires a more concerted effort to 1) prevent future addictions by making our prescribing guidelines uniform across payer sources and 2) examine and evaluate the effect of existing laws we have passed to try to address these problems. For more information about this legislation, which amends the administrative code, please see the attached PDF which contains the details on it. Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation. If you have any questions, please contact Lauren Moss at lmoss@pahousegop.com.

Document #1

Introduced as HB2201

Description: Description: Mandating Prescribing Guidelines for Controlled Substances.

Did you know that Pennsylvania’s drug overdose deaths are outpacing those of all other states?
More people are dying here.  This is a wake-up call.  Therefore, in the near future, I intend to introduce legislation mandating prescribing guidelines to be followed by prescribers of opioids regardless of the payer source. 
Currently, we have voluntary guidelines that are being adhered to only some of the time.  My legislation calls for a uniform standard guideline to be required of all prescribers.  This bill will allow for the individual needs of patients to be met within a standard of care that will be the same all over the Commonwealth regardless of whether the patient is insured privately, is covered by a public program like Medical Assistance, or is an injured worker, or someone who has been hurt in an auto accident. 
By keeping things simple across the board, we will empower our prescribers to keep Pennsylvanians safe from the possibility of an addiction when they need to be treated for pain.

Document #2

Introduced as HB2200

Description: Description: Intergovernmental Collaboration on Addiction.

In the near future, I intend to introduce legislation to require state government agencies to collaborate in an effort to help stop drug addiction.  Many provisions in law have been made to try and get at the multiple facets of this problem.  I think it’s time we evaluate what has been enacted to date and decide if adjustments need to be made.
During my tenure here I have observed that we try again and again to address the addiction crisis and yet recent data show that Pennsylvania is still experiencing an uptick in overdose deaths while other states are seeing a decline.  My bill will require each agency to be accountable for the laws we have enacted in this endeavor.  A comprehensive look at what has been done and what effects those changes have had is certainly due.  Every state agency must report their efforts and a complete report will need to be released.  That report will include the status of implementation of various laws, what benchmarks have been reached, and any barriers that may be impeding our success.  The agencies will also be required to offer specific suggestions for actions that state government agencies could implement along with any needed legislation to effectively reach our goals.  Attached is a brief list highlighting those agencies which will be part of the new reporting requirement along with a description of information they will need to provide.

My legislation, which will be an amendment to the Administrative Code, will also require the Attorney General to marshal all of the plaintiffs in Pennsylvania who are seeking damages from the pharmaceutical industry in order to be held accountable to Pennsylvania’s taxpayers. 
Additionally, the legislation will allow for a state of emergency to be declared whether it is due to another addiction crisis or a public health emergency like a flu pandemic.  Trying to fit current circumstances into the disaster declaration currently available was not ideal.  This will allow us to prepare for any eventuality.

Lastly, my bill will require the Department of State to require continuing medical education in the effective warm hand off to addiction treatment for people flagged in ABC-MAP for unusual patterns of use of controlled substances and for overdose survivors.
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