Bills of Note: Opioid Abuse Treatment, Prevention & Education

Rep. John Nygren’s (R- Marinette) latest package of bills to combat the opioid epidemic is scheduled for a vote on the Assembly floor on Tuesday, Feb. 20. The two bills, AB 906 and AB 907, were introduced in January. This legislative package was drafted in consideration from the recent Pew Charitable Trust’s recommendations to the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse. Last week, the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) adopted an amendment to AB 906 and one to 907. The bills then passed unanimously out of JFC.

The Health and Workforce bill (AB 907) includes a variety of provisions, including more county worker training supports, changes to increase substance abuse counselors, increased access to buprenorphine, prescriber continuing education, funding for psychiatric mental health nurse training, and public school health curriculum. One item of note in the amended bill directs the Department of Health Services (DHS) to review the prior authorization (PA) policy on buprenorphine-containing products. The bill requires regular updates from DHS to the standing health committees on the status of the department’s progress towards removing the PA requirements for buprenorphine-containing products.

The Law Enforcement and Public Safety bill (AB 906) includes grants to law enforcement agencies for medication assisted treatment. Grants will be available to counties that meet the eligibility criteria (i.e. county has identified how it will use care coordination to ensure all program participants are enrolled in Medicaid and will continue to receive treatment after the inmate leaves jail). Grant funds are limited to provide only non-narcotic, non-addictive, injectable medication assisted treatment to inmates who voluntarily receive the treatment within five days immediately preceding release.