Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Bill To Remove Drug Abuse Treatment Limit
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved by voice vote a bill (S 1887) to remove a limit on the number of drug treatment patients that physician groups can medicate with controlled substances, CQ Today reports. Under the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000, physicians can treat patients for heroin addiction with controlled substances dispensed in their offices; however, both individual physicians and group practices, which include hospitals and HMOs, cannot treat more than 30 drug treatment patients at one time. The law has prompted some physicians to "complain they are not able to treat as many patients as they would like," CQ Today reports. Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who sponsored the bill, said, "It clearly was not the intention of this legislation that addicted patients have less access to new medications simply because they receive care from a physician practicing in a group or from a group-based or mixed model health plan." Jim Beek of the HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration said, "The irony is that at a time when more and more people are getting hooked on heroin and other narcotics, there is a much more effective treatment, but as we try to build up momentum and acceptance, it is kind of being hobbled by this technicality." The bill would amend language in the Controlled Substances Act (Stern, CQ Today, 6/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.