What a nationwide public health emergency means

Patrick Sison/Associated Press/File

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.

 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.

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 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 Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.