NIH and CMS Announce New Plans to Address the Opioid Crisis - American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA)

FDA & Washington Alerts

NIH and CMS Announce New Plans to Address the Opioid Crisis

During the week of June 11, two federal agencies released new plans to address the ongoing opioid crisis. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) released its research strategy for its Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative, which in part, is made possible by increased funding from Congress— an additional $500 million starting in fiscal year 2018. In addition, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its roadmap to address the opioid epidemic, which highlights key areas of focus relating to prevention, treatment and data.

More specifically, HEAL focuses on developing better treatments for opioid use disorder (OUD), including support services and implementation research to develop new models of care for OUD within the health care and criminal justice settings. Clinical trials in neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome will also be supported through the HEAL initiative. A large research effort will be dedicated to the discovery and development of new nonaddictive pain treatments. This will encompass working to understand the biology and psychosocial factors that lead an acute painful event to transition to a chronic pain disorder, as well as support to speed preclinical discovery, and a new public-private partnership between NIH, FDA and biopharmaceutical groups to collect and test data through clinical trial networks.  These activities are part of the initial research plan and further investments for HEAL are currently being planned.

The CMS roadmap outlines successes in increased coverage of medication assisted treatment (MAT), reductions in prescribing opioids, and best practices disseminated through quality improvement networks. It also describes how CMS will continue to build on these efforts and how data can be leveraged to understand opioid use patterns across populations, promote sharing across the care continuum and assess treatment and prevention solutions. Future plans will also aim to foster innovation and expand opportunities to support on the ground initiatives for Medicare, Medicaid and private health plans.

ASA looks forward to monitoring these new initiatives to see how physician anesthesiologists might get involved. As leaders in pain medicine and patient safety, ASA remains committed to working with stakeholders and the Administration to mitigate opioid misuse and abuse while promoting effective pain management strategies.

Learn about HEAL funding opportunities

Download the CMS Roadmap

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