HB565 Relative to Opioid Prescribing Practices and Access to Pain Management

Joint Committee on Financial Services

The Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association (MHA), on behalf of our member hospitals, health systems, physician organizations and allied health care providers, appreciates the opportunity to submit comments in support of HB565, “An Act Relative to Opioid Prescribing Practices and Access to Pain Management.”

MHA supports HB565, which establishes appropriate insurance coverage and state recognition of non-opioid pain management practices for healthcare planning and operations.  MHA and our member hospitals continue to support all efforts to find unique and innovative strategies to reduce overall opioid use.  The MHA Substance Use Disorder Prevention and Treatment Task Force developed guidance and recommendations for clinical staff that includes finding alternatives to using opioids.  

MHA recently collaborated with Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals on the development of Pain Stewardship Program guidance (PSP).  The PSP provides best practices for using multi-modal analgesia (MMA)-based acute pain care to reduce opioid use and hospital length of stay (LOS) as well as improve patient satisfaction with treatment. With MMA, non-opioid treatments and techniques are the foundation of acute pain management. The PSP Guidance provides evidence-based pain management tools to assess and improve current hospital protocols and identify areas for improvement.

This PSP Guidance was developed as a best practice for the MHA Substance Use Disorder Prevention and Treatment Task Force (SUDPTTF) Guidelines for Opioid Management within a Hospital Setting.  Specifically, recommendation #6 within the guidelines sets forth the principle that a facility should develop a comprehensive pain stewardship program to ensure proper internal controls to appropriately manage patient populations. 

However, the challenge with MHA’s guidance and the PSP is that there is currently no ability to seek coverage for such services by any payer.  HB565 would ensure that providers are able to adopt comprehensive programs that would reduce our need to rely on opioids for pain relief and be reimbursed by payors for such services.  And while HB565 would provide an important coverage option for private insurance plans, it is important to note that the bill does not require MassHealth to cover this important service.  However, we believe that MassHealth should consider coverage options related to these services.  The Pain Management Access Commission included in section 59 of Chapter 52 of the Acts of the 2016 (the Substance Use, Treatment, Education and Prevention or STEP law) is charged with considering methods to incorporate and provide commercial and public payor coverage for the full spectrum of pain management methods in provider care practices and their report was due November 1, 2017. 

Thank you for the opportunity to offer comments on this important matter. If you have any questions or concerns or require further information, please contact Michael Sroczynski, MHA’s Vice President of Government Advocacy, at (781) 262-6055 or msroczynski@mhalink.org.