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Senators Hassan, Collins Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Train More Doctors in Substance Misuse Recovery & Prevention

WASHINGTON – Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the bipartisan Opioid Workforce Act to support hospitals in hiring and training doctors in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, and pain management. The bipartisan legislation would create 1,000 new medical residency positions at teaching hospitals in New Hampshire, Maine, and across the country.

“As we grapple with the devastating consequences of the opioid epidemic, we know that hospitals need more doctors trained in addiction and pain management in order to treat substance misuse and prevent patients from becoming addicted to opioids in the first place,” said Senator Hassan. “Dartmouth-Hitchcock and hospitals across the country are engaged in cutting-edge research and life-saving efforts to combat substance misuse, and my bipartisan bill with Senator Collins will help ensure that these hospitals have the resources that they need to create and expand their addiction prevention and treatment programs.”

“It is troubling that in the midst of the opioid epidemic and growing demand for treatment services, our country is facing a shortage of physicians trained in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, or pain management. In Maine, there is only one addiction medicine program,” said Senator Collins.  “Our bipartisan bill would help increase the number of these providers by expanding and creating new residency programs in Maine and across the country, helping the millions of Americans who are struggling with substance use disorders achieve recovery and healing.”

“As New Hampshire’s only academic health system, we thank Senator Hassan for her commitment to ensuring a robust physician workforce.  The Opioid Workforce Act will enable academic medical centers such as Dartmouth-Hitchcock to add residency positions in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry or pain management,” said Joanne M. Conroy, MD, CEO and President of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health. “All of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health is committed to addressing the opioid epidemic and to providing high-quality care to patients struggling with substance use disorders across our region. This legislation will provide critical resources to bolster our work in training the next generation of front line health care providers.”

The bipartisan Opioid Workforce Act increases by 1,000 the number of Medicare-supported graduate medical education positions available to hospitals that have or are in the process of establishing approved residency programs in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, or pain management. Each hospital can have up to 25 positions through the legislation.

You can read the text of the legislation here.