WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Doug Jones (D-Ala.) today introduced the Non-Opioids Prevent Addiction in the Nation (NOPAIN) Act. The legislation aims to help address barriers to non-opioid pain management for those enrolled in Medicare, which will help stem the opioid epidemic across the nation. Senators Capito and Jones were joined by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

“Addressing the opioid epidemic requires a multifaceted approach,” Senator Capito said. “A critical part of this is ensuring that the Medicare program does not create a perverse incentive for doctors to continue to prescribe opioids to patients. Instead, we should incentivize providers to utilize innovative non-opioid drugs and devices. The NOPAIN Act is an important step forward in preventing future addiction.”

“We need to use all the tools we have to ensure patients have access to non-opioid pain management therapies. This bill can help encourage more health care providers to use non-opioid options when it is best-suited for their patients,” said Senator Jones, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

“The opioid epidemic is one of the most urgent public health crises facing our nation,” said Chris Fox, Executive Director of Voices for Non-Opioid Choices. “130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose and this public health emergency has cost taxpayers $2.5 trillion just since 2015, according to a recent analysis by the White House Council of Economic Advisors. As a nation, we must do more to prevent opioid addiction before it begins, including by fully embracing and encouraging the utilization and availability of non-opioid solutions for acute pain patient. The NOPAIN Act would go a long way towards accomplishing this laudable goal.”

Under current law, hospitals receive the same payment from Medicare regardless of whether a physician prescribes an opioid, or a non-opioid. As a result, hospitals rely on opioids, which are typically dispensed by a pharmacy after discharge at little or no cost to the hospital. The NOPAIN Act would change this policy by directing CMS to provide separate Medicare reimbursement for non-opioid treatments used to manage pain in both the hospital outpatient department (HOPD) and the ambulatory surgery center (ASC) settings.

U.S. Representatives Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) and David McKinley (R-W.Va.) introduced companion legislation (H.R. 5172) in November 2019.

A one-pager on the bill can be found by clicking here.

Bill text can be found by clicking here

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