Sending Office: Honorable Joseph Crowley
Close the Opioid Treatment Gap: Support Substance Use Disorder Treatment Training
We invite you to cosponsor the Opioid Workforce Treatment Act of 2018
(H.R. 5818). This legislation would address the opioid treatment gap by increasing the number of resident physician slots in hospitals with programs focused on substance use disorder treatment.
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) projects that by 2030, there will be a shortage of at least 42,000 physicians, 40 percent of which will represent primary care doctors. Without immediate action to address the bottlenecks in the physician
supply chain, thousands of qualified medical school graduates will be unable to become licensed physicians, threatening Americans’ access to comprehensive health care services.
This is a particular problem for the millions of Americans who are grappling with substance use disorders and who are in need of treatment in the short-term and require preventative health care to prevent a relapse in the long-term. Unfortunately, there
remains a substantial gap between the number of Americans needing treatment for substance use disorders and those who receive it. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in 2016, approximately 21 million people
needed substance use disorder treatment, but only 3.8 million received any treatment. Though there are many reasons for the treatment gap, existing and looming shortages of physicians only exacerbate this problem.
The Opioid Workforce Treatment Act addresses this by increasing support for the opioid workforce. The legislation would provide 1,000 additional residency positions to hospitals that have or are establishing approved residency programs in addiction
medicine, addiction psychiatry, or pain management. These new residency positions represent an important step forward in supporting the health care workforce that serve on the front lines of the opioid epidemic.
Additionally, our other legislation, The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act
(H.R. 2267), would enable teaching hospitals across the country to expand their residency programs. This bill targets additional support to shortage specialties, allowing teaching hospitals to help meet local and national workforce needs, including the
wide range of disciplines needed to address the opioid epidemic.
We hope you will join us in cosponsoring legislation to close the opioid treatment gap while also addressing the looming physician shortage. To co-sponsor the
Opioid Workforce Treatment Act of 2018, or for additional information, please contact Kripa Sreepada in Rep. Crowley’s office at Kripa.Sreepada@mail.house.gov or Dante Cutrona in Rep. Costello’s office at Dante.Cutrona@mail.house.gov.
JOSEPH CROWLEY RYAN A. COSTELLO
Member of Congress Member of Congress
 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2017). Key substance use and mental health
indicators in the United States: Results from the 2016 National Survey on Drug
Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 17-5044, NSDUH Series H-52). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved from
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