September 28, 2018
Press Release
September 28, 2018
Contact: T.W. Arrighi
(202) 225-5611

Rep. Mimi Walters Improves Access to Addiction Treatment in Opioid Legislation

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Mimi Walters (R-California) and House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Oregon) released the following statement regarding House passage of H.R. 6, the Support for Patients and Communities Act, bipartisan, bicameral legislation to combat the opioid crisis.  Included in the bill is language modeled on Rep. Walters’ IMD Care Act, which expands access to inpatient substance use disorder treatment options for Medicaid recipients.

Current law prohibits states from receiving federal matching funds for Medicaid-eligible recipients aged 21-64 to receive inpatient treatment under certain circumstances.  This prohibition, commonly referred to as the IMD exclusion, prevents those seeking treatment from receiving the help they need.  The Walters provision in H.R. 6 allows Medicaid-eligible recipients to receive up to 30 days of inpatient substance use disorder treatment over a 12-month period.

The Walters provision has been endorsed by the Orange County Board of Supervisors and enjoys broad support among medical and government organizations, including the National Association of Behavioral Healthcare, the American Hospital Association, and the National Governors Association.

Learn more about the Walters provision, Section 5052, here.

Said Congresswoman Walters, “Sadly, no community in this country, including Orange County, is immune to the opioid epidemic.  Opioid-related deaths account for 70 percent of all Orange County drug overdose deaths.  We can save lives and combat this deadly epidemic by ensuring those struggling with addiction have access to quality inpatient treatment programs.  To date, the IMD exclusion has prevented these individuals from receiving the care they need.

“My provision in this bill was modeled after my IMD Care Act legislation, which passed the House on a bipartisan basis this summer.  I fought to ensure our comprehensive opioid legislation repealed the IMD exclusion to save lives by improving access to treatment. ”

Said Congressman Walden, “Over the years, the IMD exclusion has been a barrier to care for patients struggling to overcome addiction.  I thank Rep. Walters for her tireless bipartisan work to save lives and improve access to inpatient substance use disorder treatment by repealing the IMD exclusion.”