Exciting Updates on the Coalition Conservative Care Bill (Opioid Bill), A273!

On May 25, 2022 we announced that our coalition conservative care bill (opioid bill), A273 sponsored by Assemblymember Gottfried and S4640 sponsored by Senator Rivera, had passed both the Assembly and the Senate.

We are pleased to announce that the Bill was signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul on December 23, 2022!

As you recall, this legislation will require a practitioner treating a patient for any neuromusculoskeletal condition causing pain to discuss with the patient the efficacy of one non-opioid conservative care treatment before prescribing on opioid.  The non-opioid treatment alternatives include, but are not limited to: acupuncture, chiropractic, massage therapy, physical therapy occupational therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, non-opioid medications, interventional treatments, and non-clinical activities such as exercise.

While this law does not mandate referral to a conservative care provider, it does open the conversation for CDC guideline supported treatment options for chronic pain prior to providing that first opioid prescription and gets chiropractic care specifically listed as an opioid alternative in New York State statute. As noted in the Governor’s press release announcing her signing of this legislation “[t]his will require both parties to discuss the alternatives before choosing an opioid prescription. Because opioids have become a common solution to pain treatment, one in four primary care patients experience some form of an opioid use disorder. By exploring all the options such as physical therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage therapy, or occupational therapy, the risks of opioid prescription, dependence, and overdose can be avoided.”

This accomplishment was only possible through the determined work of the NYSCA and the Council working together with other professions including the physical therapists, the massage therapists, the occupational therapists, and the acupuncturists to serve the public and advocate for patient health and wellness in New York State.

Many thanks to the bill sponsors, Assemblymember Richard Gottfried and Senator Gustavo Rivera, for understanding the importance of increased access to conservative care to aid in stemming the opioid crisis. We would also like to thank the co-sponsors of this legislation Assemblymembers Griffin, Galey, Barron, Kelles, Seawright, Thiele, McDonald, Jensen, L. Rosenthal, Sayegh, Stirpe and Lupardo and Senators Gaughran, Harckham and Skoufis and special thanks to the Council and the NYSCA legislative committees on their continuous efforts on behalf of our patients and our profession in promoting this bill.

This law is certainly an accomplishment and an excellent stride forward in acknowledging that there are alternatives to the prescription of opioids as a first choice for neuromusculoskeletal conditions causing pain. We will build on this success and continue to work on promoting the proven effectiveness of chiropractic as a first choice before the use of opioids and other prescription medications. This law provides us with a steppingstone to open bigger conversations not only about the treatment and prevention of chronic pain but for all acute neuromusculoskeletal conditions causing pain, and most importantly about health and function.

We hope to continue our legislative efforts to include future laws that would mandate the reconsideration of opioid and non-opioid medications and direct conservative care treatments as the first choice in the treatment of neuromusculoskeletal conditions causing pain.

Anthony Palumbo DC
New York State Chiropractic Association
            Bryan Ludwig,
DC President
New York Chiropractic Council
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