Emergency Responses to Substance Abuse, Mental Illness

DCBA Law’s Managing Partner Michael C. Barnes spoke today at the Choctaw Nation Health Services Authority Conference in Durant, Oklahoma. Barnes’ presentation, “Compassion and Common Sense: Emergency Responses to Substance Abuse and Mental Illness,” provided information on the nation’s overdose crisis and delved into some of the major initiatives that have been undertaken at the federal and local levels to address it. Barnes discussed warm handoff programs, which transition a patient with substance use disorder (SUD) from an intercept point to treatment once the patient is stable; the use of naloxone to reverse overdoses; and privacy issues such as HIPAA and 42 CFR Part 2, which affect disclosure of overdose incidents. Barnes then highlighted the use of telehealth programs and mobile medical services to treat individuals with SUDs. The presentation also touched on pre-arrest diversion programs, which give officers discretion to divert individuals who commit low-level, nonviolent misdemeanor offenses out of the criminal justice system, as well as how state civil commitment laws apply to individuals with SUDs. Barnes ended the presentation by discussing how to overcome some of the major barriers to implementing and sustaining such programs.

Barnes is a member of the All American Speakers Bureau.

DCBA Managing Partner Presents on Federal Law, Regulation, Enforcement, and Impacts on Pain Management at ASPMN

On September 19, 2019, DCBA Managing Partner Michael C. Barnes presented alongside Wade Delk, Government Affairs Director of the American Society for Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN), and Marsha Stanton, Ph.D., R.N., former president of ASPMN, at ASPMN’s 29th annual conference in Portland, Oregon. Their presentation, titled “Trends in Federal Law, Regulation, and Enforcement, and Their Impacts on Pain Management Practice,” focused on recent federal efforts to crack down on opioid prescribers and decrease prescribing rates, as well as the unintended consequences of indiscriminate supply-reduction efforts on patients with pain. The speakers also discussed efforts from the pain community, advocates, and physicians to raise awareness of the harmful impacts of federal responses to the overdose crisis. The presentation then described several federal initiatives to examine the topic of chronic pain, including the Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force and the National Institute of Health’s HEAL Initiative. Finally, the speakers highlighted several legislative and policy approaches of relevance to pain management, including the use of cannabidiol (CBD); the X the X waiver campaign, which aims to relax restrictions on buprenorphine prescribing for opioid use disorder; and health care reform proposals from both sides of the political aisle.

Evaluating Federal, State Policies Addressing Chronic Pain

Last week, DCBA Managing Partner Michael C. Barnes presented at PAINWeek in Las Vegas, Nevada. Barnes’s presentation, entitled “I’m Not a Doctor, But I Play One in DC: Federal Action and Its Impacts on Pain Care,” touched on several federal and state policies that affect people with chronic pain and the professionals who treat these patients. Barnes provided a detailed overview of relevant provisions of the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, as well as other Congressional efforts to regulate opioid prescribing and dispensing. The presentation also touched on calls from experts and government agencies to evaluate the impact of such policies on patients with pain. Finally, Barnes discussed several state efforts, such as the Massachusetts CARE Act, and other trends relating to the practice of pain management and their effects on patients with pain.

DCBA Announces New Article: Impact of State, Federal Opioid Policy

DCBA’s Managing Partner, Michael C. Barnes, authored an article published this week in PAINWeek Journal entitled “I’m Not a Doctor, But I Play One in D.C.: Federal Action and Its Impact on Care.” Barnes’s article discusses the unintended consequences of state and federal opioid policy. The article analyzes changing trends in Washington, state capitals, and courthouses across the country as policymakers begin to recognize the harm caused by ill-advised approaches to overdose reduction. Barnes highlighted recent instances in which policymakers have acknowledged the need for professional discretion and individualized care in pain management and addiction treatment.

Attorney Behind Push For Florida 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.