Representatives Joe Crowley (D-NY) and Ryan Costello (R-PA), and Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Dean Heller (R-NV), sent a letter last week to Congressional leaders requesting the inclusion of the Opioid Workforce Act of 2018 (H.R.5818/S.2843) in any opioid-related legislative package that moves through Congress. The GNYHA-supported bill would fund 1,000 additional residency positions in hospitals that already have or are in the process of establishing approved residency programs in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, or pain management.

With the opioid crisis worsening and millions of Americans struggling to access substance abuse treatment, Congress must take immediate action to help frontline hospitals and physicians by passing the Opioid Workforce Act of 2018. The bill has been endorsed by more than 20 national and state organizations, including the American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, America’s Essential Hospitals, Federation of American Hospitals, Healthcare Association of New York State, and Healthcare Leadership Council.

GNYHA has been contacting lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to co-sponsor the legislation, and we appreciate the four Republican members of the New York Congressional delegation who co-sponsored it: Peter King, Elise Stefanik, John Faso, and John Katko. GNYHA will continue weighing in with lawmakers, and we encourage our members to do so as well.

Congress also must address America’s physician shortage, which exacerbates the inadequate access to substance use treatment. The four authors of the Opioid Workforce Act of 2018, Representatives Crowley and Costello and Senators Nelson and Heller, also sponsored the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2017 (H.R.2267/S.1301), which would increase the number of Medicare-reimbursed residency slots by 15,000 over five years. Like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), these lawmakers are true graduate medical education champions.

For additional information on the Opioid Workforce Act of 2018, please refer to GNYHA’s summary.