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News & Press: MCNP News

2016 MCNP Health Policy Event Addresses State Opioid Crisis

Wednesday, April 6, 2016  
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The Massachusetts Coalition of Nurse Practitioners (MCNP) held its Annual Health Policy Event on Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at the UMASS Club in Boston with breathtaking views of the city and more than 140 MCNP members and students in attendance.

The event focused on the role of the NP in addressing the opioid crisis with a program entitled, Stemming the Tide of the Opioid Crisis in Massachusetts: A Closer Look at the Role of the Advanced Practice Nurse and Health Policy Implications.

The MCNP was pleased to welcome Dr. Monica Bharel, the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, (pictured left with Leah McKinnon-Howe) who spoke about the opioid epidemic as a public health crisis and the state's commitment and legislative initiative to address the problem. 

Renowned for her lifelong work in treating patients with substance use disorders, Colleen LaBelle, MSN, RN (pictured right) spoke about Models of Care for the Opioid Depnedent Patient and the Impact of Health Policy on Prevention and Treatment. (Click here to view her slides.) 

Nurse practitioner clinicians, Christine Malagrida and Christopher Shaw, spoke about their roles in treating opioid addicted patients including screening, prevention strategies and current barriers to practice.

MCNP Legislative Chair and VIce-President, Andrea Thurler, moderated a panel discussion with our speakers who were joined by Kiame Mahaniah, MD, the Chief Medical Officer of Lynn Community Health Center. The panelists and attendees enjoyed a lively discussion about the current practice environment in Massachusetts and how the removal of APN practice restrictions could improve access for patients seeking treatment for substance abuse disorders.

A highlight of the morning was the presentation of the AANP State Advocacy Award by AANP State Representative Dr. Karen Kalmakis to Dr. Jacqueline Somerville in recognition of her work to advance the role of the NP (pictured center with Karen Kalmakis left and Stephanie Ahmed right). Dr. Somerville is Senior VP of Patient Care Services and CNO of Brigham and Women's Hospital and has been instrumental in helping the MCNP garner support for our legislation, H. 1996/S. 1207, An Act to Remove Restrictions on the Licenses of NPs and CRNA as Recommended by the Institute of Medicine and the Federal Trade Commission.

Gloria Craven, our lobbyist from Craven & Ober Policy Strategists, LLC concluded the program with an update on H.1996/S.1207 and what lies ahead in the coming weeks as we approach our4/27/16 deadline to get the bill released from the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing.

The MCNP would like to thank our speakers, the legislators and their staff who took time meet with our attendees who visited the State House and all of the NPs, nursing faculty and students who attended the program. 

Special thanks to the many members of the MCNP Legislative and Political Action Committees who helped plan and worked to make this such a successful event including Leah McKinnon-Howe, Amy Delaney, Andrea Thurler, Sarah Kiser, Elizabeth Donahue, Janet Groth, Maria Grotz and to MCNP Administrative Assistant Peg Carlson, MCNP Political Strategist Gloria Craven and MCNP President Stephanie Ahmed. 


                           Preparing to Take a More Active Role in the Treatment
                                            of Substance Use Disorders

Opioid dependence including addiction to prescription opioids, is at epidemic levels in the United States. Maintenance with medication assisted treatment is the more effective treatment for opioid addiction. While maintenance treatment with methadone can only be offered from a licensed Opioid Treatment Program, buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist, is approved for the treatment of opioid addiction in office-based settings.

Under current regulations, Buprenorphine can only be prescribed for the treatment of opioid addiction by physicians who complete an approved, standardized 8 hour training course as outlined in the Drug Addiction Treatment Act (DATA) of 2000.

There is pending federal legislation (the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act), that if passed as anticipated, includes a pilot program which will allow NPs and PAs in states with prescriptive authority to prescribe Buprenorphine. 

NPs in Massachusetts are encouraged to complete the training now so that they are ready to enroll as prescribers when the federal legislation is passed.

Free Training Programs are being offered throughout the state and include breakfast/lunch as well as CME/CE credit. Offerings are either complete full day programs or 4-hour hybrid live training programs with completion of a 4-hour online course required in advance of the live training.

Please click on the links below for more information and registration details.

Boston - Thursday April 28, 2016 ( Morning Hybrid Program)      

Holyoke - Saturday, May 7, 2016 (Full Day Program) ** Limited Space Available

- Monday, May 23, 2016 (Full Day Program)

Danvers - Wednesday, June 22, 2016 (Evening Hybrid program)
Registration link pending. Contact Colleen LaBelle at email below if interested.

For questions, please contact:
Colleen T. LaBelle MSN RN-BC CARN
Program Director STATE OBOT B
Executive Director MA IntNSA
Boston Medical Center
801 Mass Ave 2nd floor
Boston MA 02118
617-414-7453 (Office)
617-414-4676 (Fax)

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