Capito, Turner introduce bill to expand treatment options for newborns with opioid addiction

Bipartisan legislation recently introduced by U.S. Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) and U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) would provide affordable, alternative treatment options for babies born with opioid addiction.

The bicameral Caring for Infants and Babies (CRIB) Act would deem residential pediatric recovery facilities as qualified providers of specialized care for neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) under Medicaid.

“I am proud to lead this effort in the House and fight for those who are born addicted to opioids,” Turner said. “This bill would help organizations like Brigid’s Path, which provide inpatient medical care for drug-exposed newborns. The opioid epidemic has swept through our communities and we must work together to end addiction for those innocent children beginning their lives.” 

Currently, newborns with NAS receive specialized treatment in neonatal intensive care units (NICU) with costs totaling up to five times more than for other newborns.

Under the CRIB Act, residential pediatric recovery facilities would be able to bill Medicaid for NAS treatment.

“Every 25 minutes, a baby suffering from opiate withdrawal is born,” Capito said. “In West Virginia, that rate is approximately three times the national average. With cases of neonatal abstinence syndrome on the rise, the focus needs to be ensuring that babies experiencing withdrawals have access to specialized care and a range of treatment options. This type of care is already available at Lily’s Place in West Virginia, and the CRIB Act will make it easier for other states to create similar treatment facilities.”

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) and U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Angus King (I-ME) joined Turner and Capito in introducing the CRIB Act.

“The pain caused by America’s opioid epidemic knows no bounds, affecting even our youngest and most innocent members of society,” King said. “As we work to tackle this crisis in our communities, expanding treatment options for newborns and their mothers who have been exposed to opioids must be part of the solution. By giving states the choice to recognize residential pediatric recovery facilities as providers under Medicaid, this bill can increase options for young families struggling with this heartbreaking situation so that babies affected by the relentless wave of addiction receive the quality care they need.”

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