August 02, 2017

In HELP Committee, Senator Hassan Votes to Advance Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use

During Confirmation Hearing, Senator Hassan Pressed Nominee on Importance of Medication-Assisted Treatment

WASHINGTON – Today, as a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Senator Maggie Hassan voted to advance the nomination of Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz for Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“The heroin, opioid, and fentanyl crisis is the most pressing public health and safety challenge facing New Hampshire, and we need quick and urgent action to help stem - and ultimately reverse - the tide of this epidemic,” Senator Hassan said. “As Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz must play an important role in pushing the Trump Administration to get more resources to those on the front lines of this crisis and support states like New Hampshire. I look forward to working with Dr. McCance-Katz to help save lives and combat this devastating crisis.”

Yesterday, during a HELP Committee hearing on President Trump’s nominees to serve at the Department of Health and Human Services, Senator Hassan pressed Dr. McCance-Katz on the importance of medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

Senator Hassan pointed to HHS Secretary Tom Price’s suggestion that MAT is not effective, despite science showing it plays an important role in recovery, along with access to other services and supports. Dr. McCance-Katz has previously called MAT an “effective form of care,” and argued that health care providers should educate themselves on it. Asked if she agrees with Secretary Price, Dr. McCance-Katz said that using MAT to address tolerance and withdrawal gives “people the ability to engage in the psychosocial therapies that they need to then move on and get into productive lives.” Dr. McCance-Katz also agreed with Senator Hassan on the importance of access to an integrated health care system for people struggling with substance use disorder.