AHQA Statement On The Signing Of The SUPPORT For Patients And Communities Act

October 25, 2018

“The signing of H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, represents a significant and positive step forward to combating the nation’s opioid crisis. We at the American Health Quality Association (AHQA) applaud this bill for providing the path and funds critically necessary for our nation’s premier quality improvement professionals to work with providers to reduce unnecessary opioid prescriptions.

This bipartisan law includes the REACH OUT ACT of 2018, originally introduced by Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA 8) and co-sponsored by Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA 5), Greg Walden (R-OR 2), Michael Burgess (R-TX 26), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN 7), and Elliot Engel (D-NY 16), is an evidence-based, provider outreach program aimed at educating outlier prescribers with the explicit goal of achieving demonstrable reductions in opioid prescribing. Variants of this healthcare provider technical assistance program were developed and piloted by several Quality Innovation Network – Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO)s around the country as Special Innovation Projects (SIP)s through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) with excellent results. Projects funded through the SIP program are ‘interventions that are ripe for scale and spread, as described by CMS.

Over a 30-year history, the QIOs have demonstrated a unique ability to work locally with providers to improve quality on a national level. We are gratified that this legislation will secure a broader impact through the provision of critical technical assistance aimed at reducing inappropriate opioid utilization throughout the U.S. and the territories. We believe that leveraging the QIOs for this critically important effort is a cost-effective and efficient solution to offering provider technical assistance in communities across the country.

As the leading organization representing QIN-QIO’s AHQA would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the following representatives for their efforts in securing passage of this bill: Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA 8) Mike Thompson (D-CA 5), Greg Walden (R-OR 2), Michael Burgess (R-TX 26), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN 7), and Elliot Engel (D-NY 16). Despite the polarization in Washington, these members moved one step forward to solving this crisis that is tearing through our country and families. Due to their hard work and dedication, Medicare’s leading “boots on the ground” will be deployed to help combat the opioid crisis.

Specifically, this will empower qualified, independent organizations like Medicare Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs) to redouble their efforts to newly signed bill assures increased, long-term commitment to addressing the nation’s growing opioid crisis.”