In early January, Governor Walker issued Executive Order 230, calling the Wisconsin State Legislature into special session to combat opioid abuse. In addition to calling for a special session, the governor directed his state agencies to take various administrative actions. The announcement came after the release of a report from the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse.
Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette), co-chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse, and a leader on opioid abuse legislation, circulated the 13 special session bills for co-sponsorship. Below is a summary of the bill package:
LRB 0639/4 – This bill authorizes the director of the Office of Educational Opportunity (OEO) in the University of Wisconsin System to contract with a person to operate, as a four-year pilot project, one recovery charter school for no more than 15 high school pupils in recovery from substance use disorder or dependency.
Under the bill, the operator must provide an academic curriculum that satisfies the requirement for graduation from high school as well as therapeutic programming and support for pupils attending the charter school.
The bill requires a pupil who wishes to attend the recovery charter school to apply and to agree to all of the following:
1) that the pupil has begun treatment in a substance use disorder or dependency program;
2) that the pupil has maintained sobriety for at 30 days prior to attending the charter school; and
3) that the pupil will submit to a drug screening assessment and, if appropriate, a drug test prior to being admitted.
The operator of the charter school may not admit a pupil who tests positive for the presence of a drug in his or her system.
In addition, a pupil who enrolls in the school must receive counseling from substance use disorder or dependency counselors while enrolled in the charter school.
The contract between the operator of the recovery charter school and OEO must contain a requirement that, as a condition of continuing enrollment, an applicant for enrollment in the recovery charter school submit claims for coverage of certain services provided by the recovery charter school to his or her health care plan for which the applicant is covered for mental health services.
The bill also requires the director of OEO to, following the fourth year of the operation of the charter school, submit a written report to the Department of Health Services regarding the operation and effectiveness of the charter school.
The bill permits the state superintendent to award a start-up grant towards the establishment of the recovery charter school of up to $50,000 in fiscal year 2017-18 if the director of OEO procures matching funds equal to the amount of the grant.
Under the bill, the Department of Public Instruction must pay to the operator of the recovery charter school the same per pupil amount as is paid to the operator of other charter schools.
The bill prohibits a health care policy, plan, or contract from excluding coverage for mental health or behavioral health treatment or services provided by the recovery charter school if the policy, plan, or contract covers mental health or behavior health treatment or services when provided by another health care provider. This proposal may contain a health insurance mandate requiring a social and financial impact report under s. 601.423, stats.
LRB 0802/2 –Under the bill, a manufacturer of an investigational drug, device, or biological product may make the investigational drug, device, or biological product available to an eligible patient. Under the bill, an investigational drug, device, or biological product is one that has not yet been approved for use by the federal Food and Drug Administration, but, among other requirements, has successfully completed a phase one clinical trial and remains under investigation or is pending approval by the FDA. A patient is eligible under the bill if, among other things, the patient has considered all other available treatment options, has received a treating physician’s recommendation or prescription order for an investigational drug, device, or biological product, and has given written informed consent for use of the investigational drug, device, or biological product. The bill provides a limitation of liability under state law for a manufacturer, distributor, pharmacist, physician or other practitioner, or other person who makes available, delivers, distributes, prescribes, dispenses, or administers an investigational drug, device, or biological product to an eligible patient consistent with the bill’s provisions, and who in doing so exercises reasonable care. Finally, the bill prohibits an official, employee, or agent of the state from blocking or attempting to block an eligible patient’s access to an investigational drug, device, or biological product.
LRB 1325/1 – Under current law, a schedule V controlled substance may be dispensed to a patient without a prescription, subject to various requirements and limitations. This bill requires a schedule V controlled substance containing the opioid codeine to be dispensed only with a prescription. This bill will affect codeine cough syrups.
LRB 1498/4 – Currently treatment and diversion programs are funded by Department of Justice grants. These dollars pay for alternatives to prosecution and incarceration for criminal offenders who abuse alcohol or other drugs. The bill will direct new money from general purpose revenue for grants to counties operating treatment and diversion programs. It also should be used to expand the grant program to more counties, and to create a pilot program to divert certain persons to treatment options instead of the criminal justice system.
LRB 1328/1 – Current law provides a framework that allows for the involuntary commitment to treatment for a person who is suffering from alcohol addiction. This bill expands upon current law to allow for the involuntarily commitment of a person who suffers from drug addiction to treatment.
LRB 1473/1 – This legislation requires DHS to create and administer an addiction medicine consultation program to assist participating clinicians in providing enhanced care to patients with substance addiction and to provide referral support for patients with a substance abuse disorder. Organizations seeking to provide these services will submit proposals to DHS for their review.
LRB 1475/1 – The bill authorizes four new criminal investigation agent positions at the Department of Justice to focus on drug interdiction and drug trafficking.
LRB 1471/1 – This bill expands graduate medical training in an addiction specialty. Under the bill, the Department of Health Services will be able to award grants to hospitals under an existing graduate medical training grant program to increase the number of physicians trained in an addiction specialty. The bill also allows DHS to award a grant to a hospital for the development of an addiction specialist training program under an existing grant program designed to promote establishment of graduate medical training programs in rural hospitals.
LRB 1520/1 – This bill requires the Department of Public Instruction to provide trainings on the screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment program, an evidence-based strategy related to addressing mental health issues in schools, to school district personnel and independent charter school personnel. This program is an evidence-based strategy already used in schools to address issues of drug use, abuse, and addiction in children and adolescents. The appropriation for this program will be increased by $100,000 annually.
LRB 1323/1 – This bill grants immunity, to both the aided and the aider, from having probation, parole, or extended supervision revoked for possessing a controlled substance or controlled substance analog to a person. This is an extension of current law, which grants immunity from prosecution for possessing a controlled substance or controlled substance analog to an aider who summons or provides emergency medical assistance to another person because the aider believes the other person is suffering from an overdose or other adverse reaction to a controlled substance or controlled substance analog.
LRB 1472/1 – This bill requires the Department of Health Services to create, and provides funding for, two or three additional opioid treatment programs in underserved and high-need, but not necessarily rural, areas. Current law requires DHS to create two or three opioid treatment programs in rural and underserved, high-need areas.
LRB 1026/1 –This bill allows officials in the school setting to administer an opioid antagonist to a pupil who appears to be undergoing an opioid-related drug overdose. This includes a school bus operator, a public, private, or tribal school, Cooperative Educational Service Agency, or County Children with Disabilities Education Board employee, or a volunteer authorized in writing by a school, CESA, or CCDEB administrator or principal.