Massachusetts Medical Society: CARE Act passes with several MMS-endorsed provisions

CARE Act passes with several MMS-endorsed provisions

Governor Baker’s Opioid bill, the CARE Act, was passed by the House and Senate and is on his desk to be signed. The MMS strongly supports the bill, which includes several provisions that we have long advocated for. The bill will strengthen the statewide standing order for naloxone. It also includes two proposals originally proposed by the MMS: the partial fill of prescription opioids, and the establishment of and funding for an innovative peer-to-peer physician education program for the care of patients with substance use disorder and patients with pain. We also support provisions requiring that all three forms of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) will be offered in jails and prisons, through a pilot program. We would have preferred to see full statewide availability of MAT in jails and prisons, but are very pleased with this development. In the same vein, the compromise bill includes a study of the feasibility of Supervised Injection Facilities in the Commonwealth. The MMS has of course already conducted such a study, which culminated in our SIF report, and we would have preferred stronger language allowing DPH to promulgate regulations establishing a pilot SIF, but we see this study as a promising development, particularly as Massachusetts is the first state to establish such legislation. We are also pleased to see that the bill includes the provision of MAT in emergency departments, as well as provisions requiring law enforcement to obtain a warrant prior to accessing the prescription monitoring program. 

In the past week, the House and Senate have also passed several other bills that the MMS has long supported. Those that have been signed by the Governor thus far include a law raising the legal age for tobacco consumption to age 21, and a law repealing antiquated provisions that criminalized abortion, which were superseded by Roe v. Wade.

The Governor has ten days to sign the bills that the legislature passed on Tuesday night. Following the July 31st deadline, the legislature will hold only informal sessions until the start of the next legislative session in January.

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