House Energy & Commerce Committee Examines Health I&T Policies to Combat the Opioid Crisis

This week, the House Energy & Commerce Committee was laser-focused on the opioid crisis, holding two hearings over multiple days. The first, held by the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on Tuesday, focused on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) role in combating the opioid crisis. The hearing featured Mr. Robert Patterson, the current acting DEA Administrator.

The second hearing, held by the Health Subcommittee, was entitled “Combating the Opioid Crisis: Prevention and Public Health Solutions” and featured over 19 witnesses including representatives from government, the private sector, non-profits, and academia. Over a two- day period, the subcommittee reviewed more than 20 bills designed to address various aspects of the opioid crisis. 

Several of the bills examined by the subcommittee focused on health information and technology, including enhancing opioid related public health surveillance, strengthening state prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), examining the inclusion of a patient’s opioid use history into electronic health records, and creating an electronic database of all nationwide efforts to combat the opioid crisis. HIMSS continues to provide technical assistance to Congress as it works to explore policy options involving health information and technology.