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NE AG joins others in push to help treat opioid abuse patients

Nebraska AG Doug Peterson.PNG
Posted at 12:56 PM, Aug 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-05 14:00:35-04

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — Across the nation, communities have been doing their part to fight the opioid crisis. Here in Nebraska, Attorney General Doug Peterson says he has joined others urging the removal of federal barriers to treat opioid use disorder.

See also: City takes a new approach to fighting the opioid crisis

Peterson says he sent a letter to Congressional leadership in both chambers "asking for the removal of federal barriers that are currently preventing health care providers from offering treatment for opioid use disorder."

See also: Federal data shows opioid shipments ballooned as crisis grew

In all, the letter was signed by 39 attorneys general which Peterson's office says outlines three areas that they believe need to be addressed:

  • Replace the privacy rules contained in 42 CFR Part 2 with the effective and more familiar privacy rules contained in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA);
  • Pass HR 2482, the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act, which would eliminate unnecessary burdens on buprenorphine prescribing imposed by the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000. Buprenorphine is one of three drugs used as part of Medication Assisted Treatment, the most effective treatment for opioid use disorder. Outdated and unnecessary federal requirements are discouraging doctors from prescribing this life-saving drug to patients who need it;
  • Fully repeal the Medicaid Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion. The IMD exclusion generally prohibits state Medicaid programs from receiving federal reimbursement for adults between the ages of 21 and 65 receiving mental health or substance use disorder treatment in a residential treatment facility with more than 16 beds.

See also: Nebraska's AG is lone holdout in pursuing opioid cases

Peterson's office says the other attorneys general include: Oklahoma, North Carolina, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.