Axios Pro Exclusive Content

Manchin presses Becerra to implement opioid law

Sen. Joe Manchin

Manchin. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin today pressed HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra to accelerate his efforts to implement an anti-addiction law aimed at better sharing vital patient information with providers.

Why it matters: Jessie's Law can help prevent doctors from inadvertently prescribing opioids to people with a history of addiction, by ensuring that patient health records include past opioid use disorder.

  • Manchin flashed frustration in a Senate Appropriations hearing with Becerra today, noting that HHS has not yet issued best practices under the law for providers to display opioid use disorder information in a patient's electronic health record.

What they're saying: "It's just time to implement, sir, I would implore you to get your staff moving on this one here," Manchin said.

  • "We're doing it," Becerra responded, while noting there are issues to navigate around health privacy laws and ensure providers are adequately trained on the new rules.
  • "We need the help of the providers to make sure that they're getting their personnel to understand the new rules," Becerra said.
  • "The quicker you put them out the quicker they'll understand them," Manchin shot back.

The big picture: Manchin noted Jessie's Law was named after a West Virginian with a history of addiction problems who had gotten sober but was prescribed opioids after surgery and died, with the doctor saying he didn't know about her history of opioid use disorder.

Go deeper