John serves as vice-chair of the Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery. This session, he has filed several bills that would help prevent addiction, expand access to substance use and mental health treatment, and decrease the number of drug related deaths in MA.
S.1149 – An Act strengthening prescription drug safety and drug stewardship
Unused or expired pills sitting in medicine cabinets pose a risk to all of us. It is essential that people have a safe way to dispose of unused pills, and the drug companies that manufactured and sold those pills should be responsible for providing that service. This bill would strengthen and make permanent current requirements that drug manufacturers operate or finance a safe drug disposal program. Without this bill, existing drug take-back programs will end in 2021.
S.604 – An Act relative to removing barriers to non-opioid pain management
Opioids are not the only effective means of pain relief. Doctors and patients decide the best pain management plan based on each individual case, and sometimes, that plan includes non-opioid methods such as acupuncture or physical therapy. However, many of these modalities require physicians and doctors to cut through more red tape than if they simply prescribed opioids. This bill would remove such barriers and would increase coverage and access to non-opioid alternatives.
S.1150 – An Act providing access to full spectrum addiction treatment services
In 2014, we established that commercial insurance companies must provide for at least 14 days of addiction treatment, and asserted that decisions about the medical necessity for such treatment must rest solely with patients and their clinicians. While the 2014 law was groundbreaking, it provided only for detoxification (ATS) and clinical stabilization (CSS) services. This bill would require commercial insurance to cover up to 30 days of substance use treatment, improving access to step-down treatment at an estimated cost of only 5 cents per insured member per month. Mass Health presently provides coverage for the first 90 days of residential rehabilitation services.
S.1154 – An Act to protect children’s mental health services
This bill would establish an ombudsperson position within the Office of the Child Advocate in order to identify barriers to effective child mental health treatment, to propose solutions, to monitor compliance with relevant statutes, and to resolve complaints filed on behalf of a child.