The Washington State Medical Association (WSMA) and Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) Joint Opioid Safe Practices Task Force supports Gov. Inslee’s legislation (HB 2489 & SB 6150) aimed at addressing the opioid epidemic in Washington state.
Since 2016, our associations have worked with the governor to implement his executive order “Addressing the Opioid Use Public Health Crisis,” which brings together state agencies, health provider organizations, law enforcement and other partners in a coordinated and unprecedented effort to combat the opioid crisis in this state. We are proud of the work we have accomplished, including HB 1427 from the 2017 legislative session that promotes safe and appropriate prescribing while establishing the nation’s first overdose notification system. In addition to providing prescribers with the data they need to inform and update clinical practice, the bill requires the Department of Health to promulgate rules to ensure patient safety, including reasonable requirements for reviewing prescription monitoring program data and limits on prescriptions that also include flexibility for physicians to provide appropriate treatments to their patients.
The governor’s legislation and budget request ensure that Washington state is taking a comprehensive approach to the opioid crisis by making critical investments in treatment capacity. Building out and sustaining the “hub and spoke” medication-assisted treatment (MAT) model, raising MAT rates in the Medicaid program, piloting programs to pay for non-opioid treatment therapies and initiating a statewide standing order for opioid overdose medication are significant investments that will make a meaningful difference in addressing the opioid crisis.