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AACN's Washington Weekly

Published May 22, 2019

Opioid Edition

Survey Request: Assessing the Impact of Opioid Education

AACN encourages members to take our Opioid Education Survey. This survey will help us understand what actions schools are taking to address the opioid crisis in keeping with AACN’s commitment to the National Academy of Medicine’s Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic. Information gathered from the survey also will help highlight the national trends in opioid education across member schools. Data collected will allow us to assess the impact of AACN’s partnership with the White House, which began in 2015 and resulted in over 200 nursing schools pledging to teach the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain to APRN students.

Take the Opioid Education Survey

Pledge your support, on behalf of your school of nursing, to address the opioid crisis. Pledge Now. 

May is Mental Health Month

In observance of May as Mental Health Month, AACN’s Government Affairs and Policy staff attended several events addressing mental health and the addiction crisis, non-opioid alternatives for pain management, and healthcare innovation.

Mental Health and the Addiction Crisis

On May 16, actress and mental health advocate Glenn Close joined Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) to discuss mental illness, the stigma attached to addiction, and the opioid epidemic’s increasing impact on the community, healthcare providers, and the economy. Ms. Close, cofounder of Bring Change to Mind, a nonprofit dedicated to confronting the stigma associated with mental illness, talked about the need for accessible and comprehensive care. Sens. Stabenow and Blunt provided insight into their legislation that would extend and expand the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) model. Read the transcript here.

Following this conversation, investigative reporters examining the fentanyl drug crisis talked about their findings as part of their series, “The Fentanyl Failure.” Synthetic opioids, like fentanyl, have claimed the lives of 67,000 people. Listen to the conversation here.

Launch of Voices for Non-Opioid Choices Coalition

Voices for Non-Opioid Choices Coalition officially launched on May 16. This nonpartisan coalition is dedicated to raising awareness of patient access to non-opioid treatments and approaches to pain management. Representative David McKinley (R-WV), along with Dr. Cecelia Spitznas from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, joined prominent advocates to discuss the importance of working together to combat the national opioid epidemic. They also addressed the need for effective and affordable care using non-opioids treatments. Read more about the coalition’s work here.

Discussion on Health Care, Drug Pricing, and Innovation

On May 7, Bloomberg Government hosted “A Discussion on Health Care, Drug Pricing and What’s Next in Health Care Policy.” Panelists at this event, including Representative Scott Peters (D-CA), Justine Handelman from Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, and Clifford Barnes, Co-Founder of Medicaid Health Plans of America, Inc., discussed universal coverage, the costs of prescription medications, and overall healthcare costs for Americans. They also highlighted the need for affordable healthcare premiums, especially given that 86 cents of every premium dollar are spent on chronic illness.

Panelists agreed that it is imperative to invest in healthcare innovation today. This investment will not only save lives, but reduce current and future healthcare costs. Rep. Peters advocated support for healthcare provider innovation to accomplish this goal. 

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