The U.S. Senate passed the Opioid Crisis Response Act on Monday, Sept. 17, by an overwhelming vote of 99-1 (with Mike Lee, R-Utah, the lone nay vote). The bill will authorize $7.9 billion for health agencies including the CDC and HHS. It includes a provision that may facilitate the development on ultrasound-based therapies, a move supported by the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA).
“We commend the Senate’s support of this legislation as it will spur the development of new therapies meant to help patients better manage their pain while reducing the need for opioids in the emergency room,” said Joe Robinson, MITA board chairman and senior vice president of Health Systems Solutions at Philips Healthcare, in a prepared statement.
Section 1403 of the act calls for a two-pronged approach to developing alternatives to opioids: It:
- Requires HHS to provide technical assistance to hospitals and other acute care settings on alternatives to opioids for pain management.
- Authorizes a grant program to support hospitals and other acute care settings that manage pain with alternatives to opioids.
MITA believes ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia and focused ultrasound therapy could be helpful in reducing opioid use and misuse.
“Using the power of direct visualization, clinicians can safely and routinely perform ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia to deliver pain relief without the use of opioids or other pain medication,” according to the MITA release. “Focused ultrasound therapy has also been shown to be effective in suppressing or stimulating nerve activity with the goal of relieving both acute and chronic pain.”