Senator Hassan Led Bipartisan Push to Successfully Remove Burdensome Requirements that Limited Access to Lifesaving Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder
WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) announced today that she will host Marie-Elizabeth Ramas, MD as her guest of honor for President Biden’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday, February 7. As a result of Senator Hassan’s bipartisan efforts to pass into law her Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act, medical providers such as Dr. Ramas will no longer face burdensome hurdles and requirements to prescribe buprenorphine, which is considered one of the most effective treatments for opioid use disorder. Dr. Ramas is a Nashua-based family physician and president of the NH Academy of Family Physicians who is currently serving as Medical Director at GateHouse Treatment, a transitional center for those with substance use disorder. She is a strong advocate for expanding quality, affordable health care to all and helping to ensure equitable access to evidence-based support and treatments for patients who suffer from substance use disorders.
“Dr. Ramas is on the frontlines of the opioid crisis and has seen up close and personal what a difference medication-assisted treatment can make for someone grappling with addiction,” Senator Hassan said. “Thanks to the successful advocacy of medical providers like her, my colleagues and I were able to build the necessary bipartisan support to eliminate a requirement that had blocked many patients from receiving proven treatment for opioid use disorder. Our next steps are to make sure that providers and patients across the country know about this new law, which will help get more people on the road to recovery.”
“Medication-assisted treatment can be the difference between life and death for a patient battling with opioid use disorder,” said Marie-Elizabeth Ramas, MD. “In my work, I’ve seen patients needlessly suffer due to an outdated regulation that prevented health care providers, like myself, from prescribing lifesaving treatment for opioid use disorder to Granite Staters who need it. For those of us on the front lines of this crisis, it is hard to overstate the importance of this new law, which Senator Hassan led the push for, to remove these outdated barriers. I am honored to be Senator Hassan’s State of the Union guest to help bring national attention to this new law that will drastically expand access to medication-assisted treatment.”
Senator Hassan led a years-long, bipartisan effort to eliminate the x-waiver requirement, which prevented medical providers from prescribing life-saving buprenorphine as they would other controlled substances. Last year, Senator Hassan worked with her colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure that the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act was included in the year-end government funding bill, which is now law. This new law removes the x-waiver, which blocked hundreds of thousands of highly trained health professionals from prescribing buprenorphine and put a cap on the number of patients doctors could prescribe buprenorphine to.