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What a nationwide public health emergency means

Patrick Sison/Associated Press/File

By Globe Staff 

With the Trump administration expected to declare the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency, here’s a quick primer on what the designation could mean for states and drug users seeking treatment.

 Treatment via telemedicine: Addiction medicine can be prescribed remotely with computer technology, in a process known as telemedicine that advocates say will help people in rural areas get treatment.

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 Loosen requirements around federal grants: States, on a case-by-case basis, can receive “an extension or waive application deadlines or compliance with any other requirement of certain” substance use and mental health grants, the HHS website says.

 Work grants : The Labor Department can “issue dislocated worker program grants” to people affected by the opioid crisis. “In order for a Federal agency declaration to trigger this authority, the chief official of a Federal agency with authority for or jurisdiction over the Federal response must declare or otherwise recognize an emergency or disaster situation of national significance that could result in a potentially large loss of employment,” the HHS site says.

 Quicker hiring of public health officials: People appointed to jobs “that directly respond to the public health emergency” will be appointed for up to a year on a temporary basis if “the urgency of filling positions prohibits examining applicants through the competitive process,” the site says.

 Moving HIV funds: The administration would shift funds from programs aimed at delivering HIV/AIDS care to better serve those with both HIV/AIDS and substance use disorder, according to a STAT report.


Material from the Associated Press was used in this report Teresa Hanafin of the Globe Staff contributed to this report Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com
Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.