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The National Rural Health Association has thrown its support behind a new proposal to provide more resources and guidelines for rural hospitals help people treated for a drug overdose.

Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) and Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA), have introduced a bill in the U.S. Congress – H.R. 5176, the Preventing Overdoses While in Emergency Rooms (POWER) Act – that would provide competitive grants for emergency departments in areas with high overdose rates.

These grants would allow qualifying facilities to hire recovery coaches, counselors, social workers and other professionals specializing in the treatment of substance abuse disorder, establish policies and procedures for the provision of overdose reversal medication, and increase the availability and access of medication-assisted treatment and other evidence-based treatment, among other things.

The legislation would also require the development of protocols for discharging patients who treated for a drug overdose and enhance the integration and coordination of care and treatment options for individuals with substance use disorder after they are discharged.

The National Rural Health Association wrote to both representatives last week to express our support for H.R. 5176.

This critical legislation provides preference for rural facilities, specifically Critical Access Hospitals, Sole Community Hospitals, and Low Volume Hospitals, in the grant process. Currently, 82.5 percent of rural counties do not have a single doctor with the ability to provide MAT, these communities are unable to access this crucial resource on the path to recovery.

You can learn more about the bill at www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr5176

To learn more about the National Rural Health Association and it’s legislative advocacy, visit www.ruralhealthweb.org

 

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