A Heartbreaking Tale Underscores Why Massachusetts Corrections Facilities Need to Offer Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

Twenty-six groups continue to advocate for medication assisted treatment to be required in Massachusetts jails and prisons, emphasizing that, "The science and research on this is clear. To wait any longer to do this is just going to result in needles loss of life," according to the chief executive of the Association for Behavioral Health Care.

The latest strategy to undermine Obamacare: challenge the constitutionality of a mandate that doesn’t exist [from Philly.com]

Can a law be unconstitutional if it doesn’t exist? That may sound like an abstract riddle, like the proverbial tree falling in a forest, but it is central to a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The suit, brought by 20 Republican attorneys general, seeks to have the entire law thrown out, and the Trump administration recently announced its support.

SJC Rules in Correa v. Schoeck: Pharmacies Have a (Limited) Duty to Notify Physicians About the Need for Prior Authorization

On June 7, the SJC ruled in the plaintiff's favor, reversing the lower court's order of summary judgment for the defendant pharmacy.  The court held that a pharmacy has a "limited legal duty to take reasonable steps to notify both the patient and her prescribing physician of the need for prior authorization each time [she] tried to fill her prescription." 

Motivated by increasing numbers of "deaths of despair," the AMA adopts new policies aimed at reducing gun violence

Earlier this week the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates held their annual meeting in Chicago, Illinois, during which delegates voted to adopt multiple policies related to firearms and gun violence. Some of these policies reinforce and enhance policy positions the AMA has supported for years, while other policies offer specific recommendations for legislation that is currently under consideration at the state and federal levels.

Policy Pathways to Address Provider Workforce Barriers to Buprenorphine Treatment [from American Journal of Preventive Medicine]

George Consortium member Rebecca L. Haffajee has a new article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine focusing on some of the reasons why only 40% of people with opioid use disorder actually receive medication-assisted treatment. One major reason is that so few physicians are licensed to even prescribe buprenorphine (such as Suboxone). Numerous workplace barriers contribute to this lack of licensing, including insufficient training, lack of peer support, inadequate reimbursement, and regulatory hurdles.

Public Health Law Watch Comments on HHS Regulation Proposal: Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights

Public Health Law Watch, joined by our friends at the Public Health Law Center, submitted official comments to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposed amendments to 45 CFR 88, "Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights; Delegations of Authority." Based on our combined expertise in public health law and policy, we offered comments on five main issues: (1) the lack of evidence that these rule revisions are necessary; (2) the absence of consideration for patients who face refusal of care; (3) the potentially dangerous expansion of existing definitions around “conscience protections;” (4) the potential harm these rules will cause for the LGBTQ population; and (5) the detriment these proposals would cause to reproductive health and rights.

Legal Skills Through a Health Justice Lens: First-Year Northeastern Law Students Work Toward Health, Equity, and Justice for Two Oppressed Groups

We have a really special post today - George Consortium member Jason Potter describes his innovative work as a professor and also the work of his students here at Northeastern University School of Law. These first year law students studied legal skills through a lens of health justice, and turned health justice theory into practice by partnering with non-profit organizations and creating tangible guidance on issues of safe consumption facilities and barriers to health care for transgender individuals.