Keating Opioid Care Provision Passes House

William Richard Keating

WASHINGTON – A provision authored by Congressman Bill Keating that would increase opioid abuse treatment options for veterans has passed through the House of Representatives.

The provision directs the Department of Veterans Affairs to create a toolkit for community providers treating veterans with opioid abuse issues by making VA resources available to non-VA community healthcare providers.

“My provision is straightforward. It would direct the VA to utilize many of the same opioid safety resources already available to VA health providers and create a similar toolkit for community healthcare providers who help veterans with opioid use disorders,” Keating said. “The toolkit will promote safe prescribing practices, provide additional resources for effective pain management, and ultimately save lives.”

The policy would be similar to an approach the VA has taken with providing mental health service toolkits to non-VA care organizations.

“We are fortunate to live in a time when members of the military are surviving combat injuries at unprecedented rates. As our nation welcomes home thousands of veterans from missions around the world, we must be better prepared to provide those who suffer from chronic pain with the help they need,” Keating said. “It is the responsibility of this Congress to do our part to ensure they are receiving the level of healthcare they deserve, regardless of where that healthcare is provided.”

The provision was approved as part of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act.

According to the VA, the number of veterans living with opioid abuse disorders jumped by 55 percent between 2011 and 2016.

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