We have always been strong proponents of continuing medical education (CME), as we believe it is the solution to many different healthcare issues. Recently, it seems as though Congress is starting to understand the importance as well, with the introduction of several CME bills to the House and Senate.
One of the recent bills to be introduced in the House of Representatives, H.R. 5796, the “Responsible Education Achieves Care and Healthy Outcomes for Users’ Treatment Act of 2018” (the “REACH OUT Act of 2018”), sets out to allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to award grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements to eligible entities to educate and provide outreach.
The bipartisan bill, written by Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick, Carlos Curbelo, and Mike Thompson, directs the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to work with eligible entities, including Quality Improvement Organizations, to engage in outreach with prescribers identified as clinical outliers to share best practices to evaluate their prescribing behavior.
The education and outreach called for in the bill would be focused on outlier prescribers of opioids about best practices for prescribing opioids, and about non-opioid pain management therapies. The goal would be to reduce the amount of opioid prescriptions prescribed by the outlier prescribers of opioids.
When awarding any grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements under H.R. 5796, the Secretary shall “prioritize establishing technical assistance resources in each State.” For the purposes of implementing the bill, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) shall provide for the transfer of $100,000,000 from the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund to CMS’ Program Management Account for Fiscal Year 2019. That amount shall remain available until fully expended.
During a recent opioid bill markup session, H.R. 5796 passed the committee via voice vote. The House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce continues to meet on various solutions to the opioid epidemic. As of May 17, 2018, the House Energy and Commerce Committee has sent a total of fifty-seven measures related to opioids to the full House to consider.