US mapThe 2017 legislative session started out with a huge number of bills impacting the chronic pain community. U.S. Pain Foundation will continue focusing on issues that are relevant to people living with pain including, but not limited to: step therapy, non-medical switching, biologics/biosimilars, abuse-deterrent formularies, medical marijuana, out-of-pocket costs, complementary and integrative therapies and treatment access.

The following lists some of the proposed bills that U.S. Pain is currently tracking, organized by state. If you would like to engage on any of these bills, please email Director of State Advocacy and Alliance Development Shaina Smith.

Alaska

SB 32—“An act relating to biological products, relating to the practice of pharmacy; relating to the Board of Pharmacy; and providing for an effective date.” This bill creates a more transparent process for patients and physicians in the prescribing of interchangeable biological products. U.S. Pain Foundation supports this legislation as it includes a communication provision whereby the patient must be notified within three business days after dispensing the biological product by the pharmacist; the prescribing practitioner is also notified if an interchangeable biological product exists and has been dispensed. U.S. Pain participated in a group letter to make lawmakers aware of the organization’s support of the bill.

Connecticut

HB 6622—“An act limiting changes to health insurers’ prescription drug formularies.” This bill will prohibit insurance companies from removing any covered prescription drug from its list of covered drugs or reclassify or place such a drug in a higher cost-sharing tier for the duration of the policy term. U.S. Pain Foundation supports this legislation and is in the process of creating a coalition comprised of patient and clinician groups to aid in the passage of this legislation.

Florida

SB 182/HB95—“An act relating to consumer protection from nonmedical changes to prescription drug formularies.” Known as the “Bait and Switch Bill,” this legislation would deter insurers from making midyear formulary changes, which can cause harmful implications for patients who are stable on their treatment. U.S. Pain Foundation fully supports this bill and is an active member of the Floridians for Reliable Health Coverage Coalition.

Georgia

HB 71— “An act to amend Title 33 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to insurance, so as to provide for consumer protections regarding health insurance…” U.S. Pain Foundation submitted a letter to the members of the House Insurance Committee, asking for support of this bill as it seeks to eliminate surprise medical bills for medically necessary services and/or treatment without the patient knowing that the service was not covered for various reasons. This legislation places protections for patients while increasing transparency.

Indiana

SB 226—“An act to amend the Indiana Code concerning professions and occupations.” This bill limits the amount of an opioid prescription a prescriber may issue for: (1) an adult who is being prescribed an opioid for the first time; and (2) a child; unless the prescription is for the treatment of specified conditions or circumstances. It requires a prescriber to issue a prescription for an opioid in a lesser amount if requested by specified individuals and to document the request. It also requires a pharmacist, upon the request of a specified individual, to partially fill the opioid prescription and void the remainder of the unfilled opioid prescription and requires the pharmacist to document that the opioid prescription was partially filled and that the remainder of the unfilled prescription is void. U.S. Pain Foundation supports this legislation as the limits do not apply if treating chronic pain, cancer and/or palliative care.

Illinois

SB 70/HB 311—“Network adequacy and transparency act.” This bill would include continuity of care during a transitional period of 90 days when a beneficiary’s physician or hospital provider leaves the network plan’s network of providers for reasons other than termination of a contract. U.S. Pain Foundation will continue monitoring this bill as it is encouraged to learn if transition of services-related bills are favorable by lawmakers to determine if such language should be included in other proposed bills.

Kentucky

SB 21—“An act relating to use of experimental treatments for terminal illness.” Under this bill, eligible patients would be allowed to use investigational drugs, biological products, or devices for a terminal illness. It also establishes the conditions for use of such experimental treatments. U.S. Pain Foundation supports this legislation, but would prefer the addition of adding the verbiage debilitating medical condition to its language.

SB 57—“An act relating to medical cannabis.” This proposed bill looks to change the definition of debilitating medical conditions to include connective tissue disorders and/or any other chronic pain disease and/or condition. U.S. Pain Foundation partially supports this bill due to some of the language found within the bill.

Massachusetts

HD 409/SD 1514. “An Act Requiring Pain Assessment and Management in Healthcare Facilities.” The bill, introduced by National Director of Policy and Advocacy Cindy Steinberg, would amend existing law to ensure that every patient and resident of a healthcare facility has the right to prompt assessment, management, and treatment of his or her pain—and to periodic reassessment. U.S. Pain strongly supports this bill.

Missouri

HB 437— “An Act to repeal sections 191.480, 192.945, 192.947, 195.207, 261.265, and 263.250, RSMo, and to enact in lieu thereof six new sections relating to the use of investigational drugs, with penalty provisions.” Allows persons with certain serious medical conditions to use medical cannabis. Eligible patients only include terminal illness. The language does include irreversible, debilitating diseases or conditions (has substantial impact on day-to-day functioning) as determined by a physician. U.S. Pain Foundation supports this bill, but would like the bill to mirror the debilitating diseases/conditions mirrored in Rhode Island’s approved law concerning medicinal marijuana.

HB 209— “An Act to repeal section 208.152, RSMo, and to enact in lieu thereof one new section relating to chiropractic service.” This bill specifies that licensed physicians may treat and be reimbursed for conditions currently reimbursed under Missouri HealthNet. U.S. Pain Foundation continues to monitor this legislation.

Nebraska

LB 481— “A bill for an act relating to the Pharmacy Practice Act…” This bill provides for drug product selection for interchangeable biological products. U.S. Pain Foundation supports this bill and submitted a letter to the members of the Health and Human Services Committee. The memo explains U.S. Pain’s understanding of the cost benefits that might occur from biosimilars, but notes substituting a biosimilar or an interchangeable biological product without informing the prescriber could be detrimental to patient safety. LB 481 ensures beneficial communications take place between the pharmacist and prescriber.

New Hampshire

HB 443— “An act prohibiting prescription drug manufacturers from offering copayment reimbursement.” U.S. Pain Foundation finds this bill damaging to those individuals as many patients in New Hampshire rely upon the existing assistance program to access critical treatments. U.S. Pain Foundation submitted a letter to the members of the House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee, requesting that members of the committee oppose the legislation.

SB 15— “An act relative to the law regarding therapeutic use of cannabis.” The language within this bill includes the therapeutic use of cannabis for patients including those with chronic pain. U.S. Pain supports this legislation. The bill adds new qualifying medical conditions such as severe pain that has not responded to previously prescribed medication or surgical measures or for which other treatment options produced serious side effects. U.S. Pain Foundation supports this bill.

New Jersey

2969/A. 4205An act concerning prescription drug coverage for certain medical conditions and supplementing various parts of the statutory law.” Requires continued coverage of prescription drugs for certain medical conditions. U.S. Pain Foundation supports this bill due to its extensive protections for those with debilitating diseases, rare diseases and/or any physical, behavioral or developmental condition that does not have a known cure. The legislation requires individuals to receive coverage for their medically necessary prescriptions. U.S Pain belongs to a coalition within the state that provides resources, patient stories, advocates and other helpful tools to see the passage of this legislation.

4302—“An act concerning opioid drugs, supplementing various parts of the statutory law, and amending P.L.1972, c.70.” Restricts medical expense coverage for opioid drugs unless prescribing health care professional follows certain guidelines. U.S. Pain Foundation submitted a letter to the Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee, requesting that the bill sponsor reconsider the approach towards combating misuse and abuse; the proposed legislation places several limitations which would make it difficult for legitimate pain patients to receive their previously prescribed medications.

2703An act concerning opioid drugs, supplementing various parts of the statutory law, and amending P.L.1972, c.70.” Restricts medical expense coverage for opioid drugs unless prescribing health care professional follows certain guidelines. U.S. Pain Foundation submitted a memo to members of the Senate Commerce Committee, detailing concerns that the state already has several resources, tools and laws in places that works to deter the unfortunate misuse and abuse that may take place while also allowing legitimate pain patients access to their medically necessary treatment options.

A.3/S. 3—“An act concerning substance use disorders and revising and supplementing various parts of the statutory law.” This legislation places various restrictions on the prescription of certain drugs. U.S. Pain Foundation partially opposes this bill as written and submitted a memo to the Senate Health Committee, noting the organization’s concerns surrounding the several provisions within this language. U.S. Pain Foundation respectfully asked for the removal of § 11(f) entirely from S.3. U. S. Pain also requested that § 11(f)(3), which requires practitioners to try to stop their patients from using opioids every three months, be eliminated as it not only disrupts the sacred patient-doctor relationship, but encourages providers to not prescribe medically necessary treatments.

SB 2794— “An act concerning medical marijuana, amending various parts of the statutory law, and supplementing Title 26 of the Revised Statutes.” Revises various requirements concerning state medical marijuana program, including facilitating access to medical marijuana for children with debilitating medical conditions and their caregivers. U.S. Pain Foundation supports this legislation and submitted a letter to the Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, expanding on the organization’s backing of the bill. U.S. Pain did find a problematic provision, however, which notes the physician provides written instructions, which may include express requirements concerning the form, strain, quantity, or potency of medical marijuana to be dispensed to the patient could prove problematic for a few reasons. This provision may not prove to be in the best interest of the New Jersey resident with a chronic pain condition/mental illness who may wish to try different strains during their treatment plan (trial and error process) in order to find the best train that manages his or her condition. We are optimistic that the state of New Jersey will look at accommodating the right to try approach.

New York

A. 2317— “An act to amend the insurance law, in relation to prescription drug formulary changes during a contract year.” Relates to prescription drug formulary changes during a contract year. U.S. Pain Foundation supports this bill due to the protections it provides for patients receiving pharmacy benefits from insurers. Under the legislation, insurers cannot move the beneficiary’s treatment to a more restrictive tier, add utilization management restrictions during the contract year.

Pennsylvania

HB 45—“An act providing for the use of investigational drugs, biological products and devices by terminally ill patients.” U.S. Pain Foundation is monitoring this bill as it relates to biological products, but does not include patients with chronic pain conditions.

Utah

HB 50—“Opioid prescribing regulations.” This proposed legislation would limit the number of days for which certain treatments may be prescribed for specific individuals and amends provisions of the Controlled Substance Database Act related to provider use of the database. U.S. Pain Foundation opposes the bill as written as it does not include a patient provision, allowing chronic pain patients and/or those with debilitating conditions to be excluded from the limitations.

Washington

SB 5160/HB 1211— “An act relating to prescription drug insurance continuity of care; and adding a new section to chapter 48.43 RCW.” Concerning prescription drug insurance continuity of care; health plans that include prescription drug coverage may not deny continued coverage for a prescription drug to a medically stable enrollee if the drug had previously been covered by the plan for the enrollee’s medical condition during the enrollee’s current plan year. U.S. Pain Foundation supports this legislation and is part of a grassroots efforts within the state to see that the bill is passed.

For more information on bills related to pain care, visit our “Bill Tracking” section.