U.S. Senators Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) on Thursday announced introduction of the bipartisan Dr. Todd Graham Pain Management Improvement Act of 2018. Todd A. Graham, M.D. – a doctor in South Bend, Indiana with over three decades of service – was senselessly murdered on July 26th, 2017 for refusing to prescribe an opioid to a patient. This legislation aims to reduce overprescribing of opioids by examining ways to expand the use of non-opioid alternatives in Medicare.
Donnelly said, “As the opioid epidemic continues to take a toll on Hoosier families and communities, it’s essential that Medicare beneficiaries have better access to non-addictive pain management options. I was proud to join Senator Young in introducing this bipartisan bill that would honor the late Dr. Todd Graham, a Hoosier, and help improve our ability to provide non-addictive treatments to treat those battling pain.”
Young said, “The tragic and senseless death of Dr. Graham highlights just how bad the opioid epidemic has become. It is critical that we examine non-opioid alternatives for treating pain in order to help prevent the spread of addiction that is destroying lives and devastating communities."
The Dr. Todd Graham Pain Management Improvement Act of 2018 would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to solicit stakeholder feedback and submit a pain management study to Congress on recommendations to improve payment and coverage policies related to the use of non-opioid treatments for acute and chronic pain management for beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Parts A or B.
The report would include an evaluation of potential legislative and administrative changes to Medicare to allow beneficiaries better access to non-opioid treatments and technologies. In addition, it would analyze Medicare coverage and payment for medical devices, non-opioid based drugs, and other therapies (including interventional and integrative pain therapies) approved or cleared by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of pain. HHS would consult with stakeholders including frontline provider and beneficiary groups to ensure input is provided from across the medical community.
The bill would also require HHS to develop recommendations on legislative and administrative action.