MHA Statement

Statement from Steve Walsh, President & CEO, Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association (MHA) regarding the Opioid Workforce Act of 2019

June 26, 2019

“On behalf of the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association (MHA), we want to commend Chairman Richard Neal for his leadership today moving several important Medicare bills to passage, including one we believe is especially important to mental health and substance use disorder care in Massachusetts.  MHA joined over 50 organizations earlier this week in expressing our support for the Opioid Workforce Act, HR 3414, which will provide an additional 1,000 slots to train physicians in the field of mental health and substance use disorder treatment.  

Additional residency spots for addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, and pain management are critical as Massachusetts and the nation work to address the opioid crisis.  Massachusetts hospitals are expanding their substance use services, including through the use of bridge clinics, addiction consult services, and outpatient substance use services, and additional physicians trained in addiction-related fields are critical to ensure the success of these initiatives. 

Congressman Neal recognized the tremendous need for this legislation because a significant shortage of trained physicians exists in the areas of addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, and pain management.  The additional training slots this legislation provides for teaching hospitals in Massachusetts and across the country means lifesaving access to appropriate treatment for more patients who are battling the scourge of substance use disorder.

Without Chairman Neal’s compelling voice during today’s discussion highlighting the great the need for these slots, the legislation’s importance might not have been understood. We highly value his continued leadership on this crucial issue.”