I understand Bill A9211 is on the Ways and Means schedule for 6/1/16 (probably today as you read this). This bill would require insurance companies to pay for 90 days of inpatient addiction treatment when a physician says it is necessary.
I lost my son to a heroin overdose and there is no doubt in my mind his life would have been spared if it were not for insurance denial after insurance denial for the treatment he desperately needed.
But, it’s not just about my son. As I’m sure you are aware, many lives have been lost and we are losing more lives every single day.
We are a non-profit grassroots organization that works to reduce the stigma associated with addiction, educate about the disease of addiction and this health crisis and advocate for policy change.
We have thousands of members and unfortunately they come with thousands of stories of being denied treatment by their insurance carrier.
Our organization researched all of the bills related to heroin, opioids and addiction at the start of this session to find the bills that would have the greatest impact on the epidemic now – or basically, save the most lives. Of all the bills reviewed, the 90 Day Bill was the clear winner for having the greatest impact on this epidemic and in saving the most lives.
I, along with many of our volunteers, have met with many of you. Today I provided oral testimony at the Governor’s Heroin Task Force Forum in Binghamton, NY. In February I provided testimony in Penn Yan at the Senate’s Heroin Task Force. in April, one of our board members, Penny Stringfield provided testimony at the Senate Heroin Task Force in Binghamton, NY. We have read both reports produced by the Assembly and both reports produced by the Senate along with the 22 bills the Senate passed recently.
And will still say, little legislation has been presented that addresses the health needs of those addicted and who voluntarily ask for help. This 90 Day Bill stands out as being our greatest hope this session.
As far as budgetary concerns, we must consider the real cost of this epidemic and the costs to society and the tax payer now. We must find ways to require the medical industry who created this epidemic to respond responsibly, we must find ways to make the pharmaceutical industry pay for the damage they’ve caused and we must require insurers to cover the treatment for this life threatening illness no different than they do any other illness. These solutions will take the burden off of the New York State tax payer.
Some of the costs we must consider in NOT providing treatment are probation, incarceration, family court, criminal court, parole, rising crime rates, Hepatitis C treatment, foster care, adoption, family services, child protective services, family court, accidents, police enforcement, coroners and funerals. We are paying dearly, we are just not paying on the right end of this epidemic.
Furthermore, the cost of not providing effective treatment from the start, likely costs insurance carriers more. We know people who have gone through outpatient and short term stays 5-10 times and with a proven success rate of only 10%, it is no wonder. Add to that the toll it takes on the family and their health. And Hepatitis C treatments at $100k each.
Providing the type and length of treatment known to be effective from the onset makes sense. It makes sense because their lives are worth saving. It makes sense because it is how we treat all other illnesses. And it makes economic sense.
I’m attaching our Advocacy Agenda we have used for this session. The first page provides a snap shot of what happens when a person asks for help. The second page lists our asks.
We have worked very hard spending many days in Albany letting people know we are hoping for the passage of this bill this session. We request that you consider the positive impact this bill can have on families facing this addiction crisis as well as in protecting the tax payers of New York.
Feel free to contact us for any reason or if you have any questions.
And all of the Rainmakers at Truth Pharm