CARA 3.0 Begins Long Journey Toward Passage

The House of Representatives has begun work on the third iteration of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, known this time around as the CARA 3.0 Act of 2021. The House introduced CARA 3.0, also known as HR 4341, in July, and the bill already has 47 cosponsors and has been referred simultaneously to six different committees for consideration. While the Senate introduced their own version of CARA 3.0 (S 987) in March, almost no action has been taken on that version of the bill.

NIH HEAL Initiative Introduces New Community Partner Committee

A subcommittee of Multidisciplinary Working Group

The NIH HEAL Initiative, a trans-NIH effort to improve prevention and treatment strategies for opioid misuse and addiction and to enhance pain management, has announced the creation of the HEAL Community Partner Committee made up of people with lived experience, advocates, and/or family members of someone with pain or addiction. A subcommittee of the HEAL Multidisciplinary Working Group, who advises the initiative on research directions and activities, the new committee will provide input on key issues faced by individuals affected by pain conditions or opioid use disorder to ensure the relevance and generalizability of HEAL-supported research.

The Community Partner Committee includes Christin Veasley of the Chronic Pain Research Alliance, a long-time AACIPM partner, as well as representatives from Family and Medical Counseling Services, the Addiction Policy Forum, the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse, Faces & Voices of Recovery, and two additional advocates representing people living with pain.

NIH HEAL Initiative Multi-Disciplinary Working Group Meets September 1-2

On September 1 and 2, the NIH HEAL Initiative will convene a meeting of the Multi-Disciplinary Working Group (MDWG) to share updates, progress, and activities of the initiative, as well as trends in opioid misuse, overdose, and addiction. A discussion with members of the MDWG will follow these presentations.

A videocast link will be available to view the open session of the meeting on September 1 (day 1). Please visit the NIH HEAL Initiative website for the meeting agenda and videocast link.

NAM Releases Podcast on Racism and the American Opioid Epidemic

Aimed at combatting the fractured approach to addressing the opioid crisis, which often targets small portions of the crisis rather than taking a holistic view, the National Academy of Medicine and the Aspen Institute launched the Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic in early 2021. Through convenings, publications, strategic partnerships, webinars, this podcast, and other outlets the experts who comprise the Action Collaborative aim to uplift established evidence, promote best practices, identify research gaps, and identify collaborative approaches to countering the opioid crisis. In August, the Collaborative focused on the intersection of systemic racism, policy, and healthcare. Previous episodes have explored the interplay between the opioid epidemic and COVID-19 pandemic and the role of stigma in treating substance use disorder. You will find the audio podcasts, as well as written transcripts, here.

CMS Still Accepting Comments on 2022 Physician Fee Schedule

As announced last month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule outlining changes to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) and other Medicare Part B payments for Calendar Year (CY) 2022. The proposed rule contains many pain-specific provisions and presents an exciting opportunity for advocates to provide information that could substantially impact CMS payment structure in regard to pain management. Comments to the proposed rule change will be accepted through September 13, 2021.

AACIPM is currently drafting a group sign-on response to this proposal, coordinating with the many groups and individuals who expressed interest after receiving our initial alert. If you have interest in reviewing and signing on to our letter, please contact Amy Goldstein no later than September 6th.