WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan cosponsored a bipartisan bill, the Andrew White Veterans Community Care Opioid Safety Act, to strengthen opioid therapy safety and pain care through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) community care programs, including through the VA Choice program.
“We know that many Granite Staters and Americans – including our brave veterans – struggle with substance misuse as a result of the overprescribing of opioids,” Senator Hassan said. “While we have made progress in reducing overprescribing within the VA through stronger oversight and accountability, community care providers that serve many veterans are not currently subject to the same guidelines. This bipartisan legislation is a positive step in ensuring that veterans across New Hampshire and the country receive the best care possible, including safe and effect pain management services.”
The Andrew White Veterans Community Care Opioid Safety Act was originally introduced by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Jon Tester (D-MT).
A July 2017 VA Office of Inspector General report on opioid prescribing in VA community care programs found that contract providers are not subject to many of the opioid safety reforms implemented at VA. Specifically, community care providers are not aware of and thus, not complying with, VA opioid therapy and safe prescribing protocols. Furthermore, VA is not consistently tracking opioid prescriptions from community care programs due to significant information exchange gaps between VA and non-VA providers.
The Andrew White Veterans Community Care Opioid Safety Act would: