6/1/16 – Our Letter to NY Assembly Ways and Means Committee regarding A9211 – the 90 Day Bill

Greetings,

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.

Sincerely,
Alexis Pleus
Founder and Director

And all of the Rainmakers at Truth Pharm

Alexis Pleus
Founder
Truth Pharm

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Calling All New York State Coalitions, Support Groups, Awareness Groups, Advocacy Groups

Greetings all!

I wonder if you’ll bear with me to hear a personal story.

Last fall, I attended the FedUp Rally, Facing Addiction and Hill Day which were all back to back in D.C. All incredibly powerful events where I learned so much and was inspired by speaker after speaker.

But, believe it or not, the most inspiring 3 hours of the entire 5 days I was in Washington D.C. was spent in a room with 20 people pulled together by Nancy Carter Williams. Who were they? They were people hand selected by Nancy that she felt have accomplished incredible feats, have developed unique ways to raise awareness and were having a powerful impact on the opioid epidemic and BOY was she right! I was invited to speak and present for Truth Pharm and by the time it was my turn to speak, I felt minuscule in comparison to what I had heard from the people who went before me.

Two of the most inspiring people we heard from that day were two women from Kentucky. They told of a story about several bills being up for vote in Kentucky that everyone was sure would pass. They said they did the thing we all do – the shared the information on facebook, they made phone calls, sent emails and it seemed these bills would pass, after all, the state was facing an epidemic and these bills were SO important. When it came time for the bills to be voted on, they did not pass and the group was devastated. A group of moms decided the next session of the legislature, they would be at the capitol every day the legislature was in session and they would NOT leave until the bills passed. And they did just that.

I know many of us have different opinions about what can or should be done. There is a LOT Truth Pharm wants from our state government, but one thing I THINK we would all agree on is that currently, insurers are controlling how much treatment our loved ones get, and the amount of time is woefully low. We are seeing an average of 9 days being approved by insurance, which sets our loved ones up for a 90% relapse rate.

There is a bill in our State Senate AND Assembly this year that we have been calling “The 90 Day Bill”. Remarkably, the bill that was written in the Senate, was written by a Republican and our Senate is Republican led and the bill written in the Assembly was written by a Democrat and our Assembly is Democrat led.

This means, two things. 1. a shorter span of time to move the bill forward and 2. the bill has a fantastic chance of passing.

But, it will NOT pass this session unless we can get the bill to move forward. And to get it to move forward, we need face to face time with our political leaders asking them to please sign on as cosponsors and to urge their colleagues to move the bill forward.

Truth Pharm has taken 4 trips to Albany and we have several more dates coming up: May 10, 11, 24 and June 2 and 24th and we may add more days. You could go with us, meet us there, plan your own trip, go separately, whatever you like, but we should all work together to make this happen. We can only do this with everyone’s help.

People were telling us yesterday we had a good chance of getting this passed ‘next session’… let’s make it happen THIS SESSION!

If you’d like to be involved, please fill out this survey: Click Here for Survey.

To see Truth Pharm’s Advocacy Agenda for 2016, click here.

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