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Balderson, Kelly Introduce Legislation to Combat Prescription Opioid Abuse

WASHINGTON D.C. – Congressman Troy Balderson (R-OH) and Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-IL) introduced legislation to enable health care providers to track and ensure the well-being of patients who are prescribed opioids. The Remote Opioid Monitoring Act would create a study focusing on the benefits and efficacy of remote monitoring. 

“The opioid epidemic has been indiscriminate, impacting every community across the country,” said Balderson. “Preventing addiction and abuse from the outset is the most effective way to combat this crisis. This legislation would give health care providers the opportunity to oversee the treatment of their patients and observe how they respond to their prescribed medication.”

“The right medication can be life-changing, and even life-saving, but we must ensure that medication like opioids are used safely,” said Kelly. “We need to better understand how to leverage current technologies by studying the efficacy and outcomes of remote monitoring of patients who are prescribed opioids.  I’m proud to lead this legislation which will bring us closer to overcoming the challenges of substance abuse faced by so many Americans.”

In 2021, 80,816 Americans died from an opioid overdose. Many Americans’ first exposure to opioids comes from a lawful prescription by their physician. Then, from either proper use or misuse, some patients develop an addiction.

Remote monitoring gives health care providers the ability to view trends and identify problems in physiological functions when the patient is no longer under their direct supervision. Two examples of remote monitoring include tracking medication adherence and preventing opioid-induced respiratory depression, which is the direct cause of death from an opioid overdose. 

“Digital health technologies have proven an important tool in combatting the nation’s opioid epidemic. The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) commends Congressman Balderson and Congresswoman Kelly for leading this legislation to study the use of remote monitoring tools that reduce the risks of opioid misuse and promote early intervention by tracking a patients' vital signs, medication adherence, and overall well-being from the safety of their homes,” said Catherine Pugh, Senior Manager, Digital Health, Consumer Technology Association.

The Remote Opioid Monitoring Act would require the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct a study on the remote monitoring of patients prescribed opioids. The study would look at the efficacy of remote monitoring programs, the prevalence of existing programs, and provide recommendations for improving existing federal health care programs.

The bill was included for consideration by the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee on Wednesday, June 21, in a Legislative Hearing entitled, “Responding to America’s Overdose Crisis: An Examination of Legislation to Build Upon the SUPPORT Act.”

The full text of the Remote Opioid Monitoring Act can be found here.

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