Gov. John Carney recently signed into law Senate Bill 41, House Bill 91 and House Bill 100, a bipartisan package of legislation that will expand access to substance abuse treatment, strengthen oversight of opioid prescriptions and combat Delaware's addiction crisis.
Carney signed the legislation during a ceremony that included remarks from Attorney General Matt Denn, members of the general assembly and Delaware advocates for improved access to substance abuse treatment — including families who have lost loved ones to Delaware’s opioid epidemic.
“Far too many Delawareans, and Delaware families, have been affected by this crisis,” Carney said. “These new laws represent a significant step forward in our efforts to combat Delaware’s addiction epidemic. To the Delaware families who have lost loved ones to addiction and who are now fighting to prevent others from experiencing the same fate, your work is nothing short of inspiring. To the Delawareans who are using your own experience with substance abuse to help others, know that you are making a difference. We will continue to follow your lead. Thank you to Attorney General Denn and members of the general assembly for your continued urgency on this issue.”
“The credit for these bills should go to the Delawareans who have overcome substance abuse, and the families who lost loved ones to drug overdoses, who stepped forward and shared their thoughts about where the system was failing and how it could be improved,” said Denn. “We listened and tried to turn their suggestions into laws, but the ideas came from those families, and after giving us the ideas they stood shoulder to shoulder with us to make sure the bills were passed.”
The legislation will take a number of steps to expand access to substance abuse treatment, target barriers to insurance coverage and improve Delaware’s response to the addiction epidemic.
The package will:
— Prevent private insurers from using pre-authorization and referral requirements to delay access to substance abuse treatment.
— Require insurance companies to cover 14 days of substance abuse treatment before conducting a “utilization review” that can delay treatment.
— Limit insurance companies from denying substance abuse treatment based on “medical necessity” grounds.
— Allow the Department of Justice to use consumer protection funds to advocate for those being denied coverage based on “medical necessity” grounds.
— Establish a new committee to help oversee opioid prescriptions, and strengthen the oversight of over-prescription.