Senators Manchin, Scott introduce Non-Opioid Directive Act

Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 12:32 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WHSV) — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has introduced legislation with Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) that would establish a non-opioid directive form that allows patients to notify health professionals that they do not wish to be treated with opioids.

The legislation, called the Non-Opioid Directive Act, is based on legislation that has already passed in multiple states, according to a press release from Senator Manchin’s office.

In the press release, Manchin says the bill will allow for patients in recovery to avoid a relapse, and creates patient choice if they don’t want to risk taking potentially addictive medicines.

Per the press release, some of the key highlights of the Non-Opioid Directive Act are as follows:

  • Instructs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop a non-opioid Pain Management Directive that will be included in a patient’s medical record.
  • It is voluntary. An individual may revoke a non-opioid pain management form executed by themselves at any time and in any manner. A guardian or patient advocate may also revoke the form for a minor at any time and in any manner.
  • Requires each group health plan or health insurance issuer to make the form available to each enrollee; and requires each group health plan or health insurance issuer to include a notice of the individual’s choice for non-opioid pain management to healthcare providers.
  • Requires group health plans and health insurance issuers to provide a copy of the non-opioid pain management form during annual enrollment, specifically asking the individual to opt-in or opt-out.
  • Allows an exception for providers to override the directive in the event a patient is receiving emergency treatment in a hospital or outside of a hospital; or receiving the opioid through intraoperative use during surgery; and in the treating healthcare professional’s opinion, after due consideration of other options and inquiring about a history of opioid use, the administration of the opioid is medically necessary to treat the individual.
  • The legislation extends full liability protections (criminal and civil) for providers who mistakenly administer an opioid when a patient has signed a directive or for failing to administer or prescribe an opioid.

For the full bill text, click here. For background information on the bill, click here.

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