Dr. Mark Rosenberg, Chairman of Emergency Medicine and Chief Innovations Officer for St. Joseph’s Health, recently testified before Congress in support of new legislation based on the St. Joseph’s ALTO® (Alternatives to Opioids) program.
The Energy & Commerce Congressional Subcommittee - Combating the Opioid Crisis: Prevention and Public Health Solutions – convened a panel of experts from various fields to hear testimony on over 25 bills submitted for consideration as they look for answers and options in addressing the national opioid epidemic.
One of the new legislative bills is The Alternatives to Opioids (ALTO®) in the Emergency Department Act, introduced by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and Congressman Bill Pascrell to help boost resources for hospitals in the fight against opioid addiction. The New Jersey legislators were joined by representatives from West Virginia and Colorado in the bill’s submission, which features the original protocols established at St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in 2016. If approved, the new bill would earmark funds for the expansion of the St. Joseph’s ALTO(sm) program across the country.
“We’re looking for what works in the fight against the opioid crisis,” said Congressman Earl L. "Buddy" Carter of Georgia. “I applaud you Dr. Rosenberg for your efforts and I am very interested in learning more about the ALTO® program.”
In the two years the program has been operational, ALTO® has decreased opioid prescriptions in the St. Joseph’s University Medical Center Emergency Department by 82%.
“It was an honor to testify before the Congressional Subcommittee on our ALTO® program and report on the results we’ve witnessed in two short years,” says Dr. Rosenberg. “It’s exciting to share the program with every state in the country and I am proud they are considering us as the standard for Opioid prescription reduction.”
In forming the Subcommittee on Health, Congress noted that the Opioid Epidemic is in our hospitals, in our living rooms, and on our streets – in communities across America, individuals and families are suffering from addiction, overdose, and loss of loved ones.
“We are grateful to our elected representatives for bringing ALTO® forward on a national level,” said Kevin Slavin, president and CEO of St. Joseph’s Health. “If other hospitals and communities can experience the same benefits we are witnessing through the ALTO® program, it could have a major impact well beyond our original vision.”