Testimony in Support of S.1100 before the Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use, and Recovery

The Massachusetts Medical Society wishes to be recorded in support for S.1100, legislation that would increase access to pain management services.  The Medical Society wishes to commend Sen. John Keenen for putting forth this legislation.

S.1100 would require each commercial insurance carrier to develop a pain management access plan, including those that provide alternatives to opioid prescribing; allow the Health Policy Commission (HPC) to consider non-opioid and non-pharmaceutical pain management as criteria for the Accountable Care Organization (ACO) certification process; and direct the Division of Insurance (DOI), with support from the HPC and the Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA), to include access to non-opioid and non-pharmaceutical pain management standards as part of their insurance accreditation process.

The MMS has a longstanding commitment to reducing opioid prescribing and dependency, and to encouraging non-opioid approaches to pain management.  The Society is proud to have worked alongside the Legislature, the Baker administration, insurers and patient advocacy organizations on the many successful initiatives put in place in the Commonwealth.  These include robust improvement in the state’s prescription monitoring program, promulgation of prescribing guidelines for physicians, educating physicians in pain management, educating patients about the risks of these medications and their proper storage and disposal, and recognition of addiction as a disease rather than a crime with prioritization of treatment.   This legislation is an important next step in ensuring that health insurers offer consumers access to evidence based non-opioid and non-pharmaceutical pain options, where appropriate.  

Specifically, the bill would allow the Health Policy Commission to include adequacy of non-opioid and non-pharmaceutical pain management services in its certification of ACO’s and would include individuals with chronic pain in the definition of vulnerable populations.  It would also charge CHIA with establishing standards for access to mental health services, substance use and pain management services that would be used by the DOI in its network adequacy review process for health insurers.  Lastly, it would charge the DOI and the HPC with developing evidence-based standards for pain management and publish guidelines to assist health insurers in developing pain management access plans.  These provisions would increase accountability by health insurers and would increase patients access to innovative pain management services that include non-opioid and non-pharmaceutical options.

The MMS urges the Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery to report S.1100 out of Committee favorably. 

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