Last week, U.S. Senator and physician Rand Paul applauded the decision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to implement changes called for by Dr. Paul and a bipartisan Senate coalition to increase access to much-needed treatment for those battling an opioid addiction. The Administration announced today that HHS will raise the number of patients to whom a doctor can prescribe buprenorphine, also known as Suboxone, from the current 100-patient barrier to 275 patients.
“As a physician, I’ve seen firsthand how well-intended but misguided federal interference restrains doctors from providing patients with the help they need. The current patient cap is keeping too many Kentuckians from treatment that could free them from addiction. Today’s rule change is an important first step to unshackling and better empowering physicians to confront the growing epidemic of opioid addiction. Congress should pass the bipartisan TREAT Act to further increase the cap and expand the number of providers who can prescribe these important treatments,” said Dr. Paul.
“This final regulation is a result of Sen. Paul’s common-sense proposal that passed the Senate Health Committee this spring and should be a great help to Kentuckians and Tennesseans alike working hard to beat addiction and lead healthier lives. I was glad to support Sen. Paul’s proposal in committee—and I look forward to soon getting a result on bicameral legislation to provide substantial support to states and local communities on the front lines of America’s opioid abuse epidemic,” Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said.
Dr. Paul is the lead Republican sponsor of the TREAT Act, which, along with increasing the patient cap and number of providers, would give states greater flexibility to adjust their state patient caps and require HHS and the Government Accountability Office to report to Congress about the legislation’s effects on treatment and services. Dr. Paul and Senator Edward Markey originally introduced the TREAT Act in 2015. The TREAT Act unanimously passed the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee in March.
When Dr. Paul learned HHS originally intended to only increase the cap to 200 patients, he joined a bipartisan group of senators in urging HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell to extend the cap to 500, the limit included in the TREAT Act.
Click HERE to read the TREAT Act in its entirety.