Monday, February 26, 2018


Take the opportunity this week to weigh in on whatever matters to you.  There are a lot of really good bills in the Maryland General Assembly, that may not pass unless your legislators hear from you.  

On TUESDAY 2/27, the following bills will be heard in the House and Government Operations Committee:   

1) HB445 Health – Certified Recovery Residences – Urine Testing: Requires residents and employees of a certified recovery residence to submit to urine testing.  

2) HB499 Health – Standards for Involuntary Admissions and Petitions for Emergency Evaluation – Modification: Makes a provision for Involuntary Commitment for an individual who has experienced an overdose --but only for those individuals who have "health insurance coverage as a dependent under the individual's parent's health insurance plan.  SB527 is a similar bill which was heard in the Senate on 2/14, but DOES NOT have the provision that the individual must be covered under their parent's insurance plan.  Advocates ask that you support HB499 ONLY WITH the amendment that the requirement for coverage under a parent's insurance plan be struck from the bill.  SERIOUSLY --DO ONLY PARENTS WITH GOOD INSURANCE GET TO TRY TO SAVE THEIR KID'S LIFE, WHILE ALL OTHER PARENT'S GET TO WATCH HELPLESSLY AS THEIR KID IS DISCHARGED TO NOWHERE?

3) HB601 Public Health - Opioids - Dispensing Requirement: Requires that an opioid be dispensed with a material that permanently deactivates the drug when the patient disposes of it.  

4) HB772 Maryland Medical Assistance Program – Clinical Services Provided by Certified Peer Recovery Specialists:  Allows Medicaid to reimburse for "clinical services" provided by Peer Recovery Specialists to individuals with substance use disorders or mental health disorders.  

5) HB922 Maryland Department of Health – “Pill Mill” Tip Line:  Establishes a "tip line" for citizens to report doctors who they suspect are over-prescribing medication, and requiring an investigation.  

6) HB1207 Public Health – Ibogaine Treatment Study Program:  Establishes a study to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of Ibogaine treatment for Opioid Dependence and to compare the effectiveness of Ibogaine treatment with conventional treatment methods and interventions, including opioid replacement therapy. 

7) HB1577 Human Services – Family Navigation Services – Provision and Funding: Appropriates $1,665,915 for Family Navigation Services to support parents and caregivers of children or youth with behavioral health needs or developmental disabilities and that addresses one of the following priorities: 1) reducing impact of parental incarceration; 2) preventing youth between 16 and 24 from becoming disconnected; 3) reducing childhood hunger; and 4) preventing youth homelessness.  Navigators help parents / caregivers understand and address their child's behavioral health needs, identify community resources, and obtain needed services.  

8) HB499 Public Health – Opioid Overdoses – Prohibition and Rehabilitation Order:  Makes it illegal for individuals to overdose, and makes it OPTIONAL for a first responder to administer Naloxone (Narcan) in order to resuscitate them. If the first responder CHOOSES TO administer Naloxone, and the individual is successfully resuscitated, the first responder will then issue a citation for a fine (<= $50) and a "rehabilitation order" requiring the individual to attend treatment.  The fine will be waived by the court under certain conditions.  Fines collected will go toward purchasing Naloxone.  If the individual fails to pay the fine or attend treatment, they may be held in contempt by the court, and sentenced to AT LEAST 30 days in jail.  

On THURSDAY, 3/1, the following bill will be heard in the Senate Finance Committee:

9) SB921 Task Force on the Premature Discharge of Patients With Substance Use Disorders: Establishes a task force to collect data and study the following: 1) the impact of premature discharges from treatment on patients diagnosed and admitted for a substance use disorder, 2) the reasons why patients assessed as needing inpatient treatment are kicked out of treatment before their discharge date, and 3) any applications of the patient abandonment law; and to 4) make recommendations regarding changes to improve patient discharge practices; and to 5) propose training for staff members at facilities designed to treat SUD that could help mitigate any risks associated with early patient discharge; and to 6) determine whether facilities designed to treat substance use disorders should be required to report on the frequency of early patient discharge.  

On FRIDAY, 3/2, the following bill will be heard in the House and Government Operations (HGO) Committee:

10)  HB1531 Task Force on the Premature Discharge of Patients With Substance Use Disorders: Same as #9.

11) HB1579 Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program Facilities – ASAM Criteria Assessments: Requires a treatment provider to provide a copy of the patient's assessment to the patient; Requires the provider to meet with the patient to review the assessment and to explain how the assessment impacts discharge planning --within 72 hours after admission; Requires the provider to discuss the patient's discharge options based on the assessment; Requires the provider to identify potential treatment providers appropriate for the next level of care; Requires the provider to send appropriate application documents to the next level of care within the 72 hour time frame; Requires the provider to make direct patient referrals to any other treatment providers identified as necessary for the patient's recovery (specified in the assessment); Allows a patient to request that an individual of the patient's choosing be designated as the patient's personal representative to advocate for services to be included in the discharge plan based on the patient's assessment.

Thank you for your support.

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