Attorney Behind the Push For Florida’s Warm Handoff Law

DCBA Managing Partner Michael C. Barnes recently sat down with NOPE Task Force for a brief interview. NOPE Task Force is a non-profit founded in 2004 to address the overdose crisis and prevent drug abuse. The organization is particularly known for the quality of its presentations to young people and advocacy work. Barnes has maintained a close relationship with NOPE Task Force and Founder Karen Perry in his work on advocating for warm handoff laws, which encourage or require emergency departments to transition patients with substance use disorders to treatment once they are stable.
In the interview, Barnes highlighted his work with NOPE Task Force to pass Florida’s 2017 warm handoff law, as well as a journal article on the topic he published with DCBA Associate Attorney Daniel L. McClughen earlier this year. The article covers liability laws, prescription drug monitoring programs, privacy, and other legal issues relevant to emergency department notifications and discharges. Barnes also spoke about some of his ideas on how to address the drug abuse and overdose epidemic. Read the full interview here.

DCBA Attorneys Provide Legal Update at Addiction Conference

This week, DCBA attorneys Daniel C. McClughen and Stacey L. Worthy spoke at the CORE addiction treatment and recovery conference on Amelia Island, Florida. Their presentation, “Keeping Pace in a Rapidly Changing Environment: An Update for Treatment Programs and Recovery Residences,” provided a timely update on several legal, regulatory, legislative, and enforcement trends impacting addiction treatment programs and recovery residences, also known as sober living homes. Topics included federal and state fraud, waste, and abuse laws; recent actions by the Department of Justice (DOJ), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); and legislation recently introduced or passed at the state and federal levels. McClughen and Worthy also offered recommendations for best practices to help treatment programs and recovery residences stay compliant in this evolving environment. Additionally, McClughen co-presented the conference’s closing plenary session, entitled “Here, There, and Everywhere: Ethical and Legal Issues in Using Telehealth to Improve Addiction Treatment Capacity.” He provided attendees with a legal, legislative, and enforcement update related to telehealth. Topics included the Ryan Haight Act, prescribing buprenorphine and other controlled medications via telemedicine, practicing across state lines, informed consent, patient privacy, and recent state and federal legislation impacting those using or considering using telehealth to deliver addiction treatment.

DCBA’s Managing Partner Updates Pain Care Professionals

On June 26, Managing Partner Michael C. Barnes gave a webinar presentation alongside Wade Delk of the American Society for Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN). The presentation, entitled “2019 Pain Care Legislation and Public Policy,” was hosted by the Providers Clinical Support System (PCSS). The webinar analyzed how recent federal and state legislative and regulatory actions and proposals could affect the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD) and pain management practices. Barnes discussed recent efforts by the DOJ to crack down on opioid prescribers and the impact of these actions on practitioners. He also highlighted the consequences of state efforts to decrease opioid prescribing on people with pain, particularly stemming from the 2016 Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guideline. Barnes discussed recent federal legislation and rules affecting patients with OUD, including the SUPPORT Act (2018) and the MAT Act (2019), as well as trends in telemedicine, warm handoffs, and court cases pertaining to these patients. To view the full presentation, click here

DCBA Presents on Medication-Assisted Treatment in Criminal Justice Settings at Rx Summit

At this week’s Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta, DCBA Associate Attorney Shruti Kulkarni presented with Tulane School of Medicine’s Dr. John W. Thompson, and the Chief Operating Officer of NaphCare, Bradford McClane. Their presentation, “Opioid Use Disorder Interventions and Treatment in Jails: Policy and Practice,” examined the benefits, challenges, and policy issues related to delivering medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder in criminal justice settings. Topics included an analysis of case studies on MAT in jails in New Jersey and Washington, as well as the court opinions from Estelle v. Gamble and Pesce v. Coppinger. The presenters also discussed legal and policy developments, including relevant provisions of the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, and concluded by providing recommendations for advocating for the implementation of MAT in criminal justice settings.

DCBA’s Managing Partner Presents on Warm Handoffs at Rx Summit

Today, DCBA’s Managing Partner, Michael C. Barnes, presented and moderated a session at the Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta. The session, entitled “Warm Handoffs: Overcoming Barriers to Implementation,” examined the need for emergency department warm handoff programs. Under these programs, patients who experience a nonfatal overdose are screened for problematic substance use and receive treatment if appropriate. Barnes spoke alongside Karen Perry, Founder and Executive Director of NOPE Task Force, and Dr. Ross Sullivan, Director of Emergency Opioid Bridge Clinic and Medical Toxicology, Emergency Medicine at Upstate University Hospital. Ms. Perry discussed the story of her son and the resulting warm handoff law passed in Florida in 2017. Dr. Sullivan highlighted the efforts of the Upstate Opioid Bridge Clinic to respond to opioid overdose and ensure patients receive treatment. Topics also included barriers to treatment, patient privacy considerations under HIPAA and 42 CFR Part 2, initiating treatment with buprenorphine in the emergency department, mobile medical services, and relevant provisions of the SUPPORT for Patient and Communities Act. The speakers concluded by offering recommendations for warm handoff programming and advocacy.

DCBA Attorneys Address Women Legislators

This week, DCBA’s Managing Partner, Michael C. Barnes, and Associate Attorney, Shruti Kulkarni, presented at the National Foundation for Women Legislators Annual Conference. They were joined by Dr. Shannon Ginnan, physician and Medical Director of the nonprofit Aimed Alliance. Their presentation, “Doctors in Distress: Avoiding Health Care Provider Shortages,” examined provider shortages, with a specific focus on contributing factors to and recommendations for addressing these shortages. Topics included interference with doctors’ professional judgment by insurers, coverage practices such as step therapy and prior authorization and their associated administrative burdens, physician burnout, and the patient-physician relationship. The presentation concluded with recommendations for providers, insurers, state legislators, and state medical boards on addressing the issue of provider shortages.