Senators Collins, Hassan Introduce Legislation to Train More Doctors in Substance Misuse Recovery & Prevention

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) introduced the bipartisan Opioid Workforce Act to support hospitals in hiring and training doctors in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, and pain management. The bipartisan legislation would create 1,000 new medical residency positions at teaching hospitals in Maine and across the country.


“It is troubling that in the midst of the opioid epidemic and growing demand for treatment services, our country is facing a shortage of physicians trained in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, or pain management. In Maine, there is only one addiction medicine program,” said Senator Collins.  “Our bipartisan bill would help increase the number of these providers by expanding and creating new residency programs in Maine and across the country, helping the millions of Americans who are struggling with substance use disorders achieve recovery and healing.”


“As we grapple with the devastating consequences of the opioid epidemic, we know that hospitals need more doctors trained in addiction and pain management in order to treat substance misuse and prevent patients from becoming addicted to opioids in the first place,” said Senator Hassan. “Dartmouth-Hitchcock and hospitals across the country are engaged in cutting-edge research and life-saving efforts to combat substance misuse, and my bipartisan bill with Senator Collins will help ensure that these hospitals have the resources that they need to create and expand their addiction prevention and treatment programs.”


The bipartisan Opioid Workforce Act increases by 1,000 the number of Medicare-supported graduate medical education positions available to hospitals that have or are in the process of establishing approved residency programs in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, or pain management. Each hospital can have up to 25 positions through the legislation.


You can read the text of the legislation here.


Earlier this year, Senators Collins and Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced the Training the Next Generation of Primary Care Doctors Act, a bipartisan bill to address the severe shortage of physicians by bolstering the successful Teaching Health Centers Graduate Medical Education Program.


Senator Collins is also the cosponsor of the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2019, which would increase the number of Medicare reimbursed residency slots by 15,000 over five years, and the Rural Physician Workforce Production Act of 2019, legislation to support rural residency training and work to alleviate physician shortages in rural communities.