PROMOTING THE HEALTH & WELLNESS OF OUR COMMUNITIES
Bill’s healthcare initiatives have focused on the unique demographics of the district. The 9th Congressional District is home to the largest number of seniors in the Commonwealth while also containing a mixture of both urban and rural areas.
As a Member of the Congressional Community Health Centers Caucus, Bill has fought to secure additional funding and resources to help underserved communities. These centers are not only a dependable and accessible source of primary care; they are also engines of economic activity and job creators. Serving communities that are disproportionately affected by chronic disease and lack of access to health services, Bill knows that community health centers are indispensable for so many in our district.
Another challenge facing our district that Bill has tackled head on is prescription drug abuse. Barnstable and Bristol counties have the highest rates of drug overdose in the Commonwealth. Since coming to Congress, Bill has become a leader in the fight to end this terrible epidemic. The STOPP Act, which Bill authored, is a first-of-its-kind federal legislation aimed at curbing prescription drug abuse with abuse-deterrent technology. While not a silver bullet, abuse-deterrent technology would greatly reduce the number of overdoses resulting from prescription drug abuse by making it more difficult to crush, melt, or swallow too many pills. Numerous research and development firms are already experimenting in abuse-deterrent formulations, so the STOPP ACT is a creative way of fighting the prescription drug abuse epidemic while encouraging American innovation and small business. The STOPP Act is sponsored by leading Republican and Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers. Bill knew getting support across the aisle on this critical legislation would only strengthen it. As a direct result of Bill’s work with the STOPP Act, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) created guidance on abuse deterrent technologies for pharmaceutical companies.
- Successfully pushed to re-institute National Institutes of Health clinical trials during the government shutdown, allowing people across the country – including three of Bill’s constituents – to continue with potentially life-saving treatment. Bill was the only Member to even seek a solution to this challenge, indentifying a technical oversight and cutting through the red tape that was preventing these trials from moving forward. Bill continued to work tirelessly on behalf of his constituents and was able to get things done in the face of an irresponsible government shutdown.
- Authored and introduced the Stop Tampering of Prescription Pills (STOPP) Act, a first-of-its-kind federal bill combating prescription drug abuse by requiring pharmaceutical companies to formulate their opioid-based drugs using abuse deterrent technology. This means that these dangerous drugs cannot be abused through typical means of crushing or melting the pills. Abuse deterrent technology also prevents overdoses in cases where too many pills are swallowed.
Secured several important grants for the community health centers including:
- $1,136,379 for Greater New Bedford Community Health Center.
- $719,952 for Community Health Center of Cape Cod in Mashpee to expand cape residents’ access to healthcare.
- $714,350 for Island Health, a community health center in West Tisbury to expand Martha’s Vineyard residents’ access to healthcare.
- $650,000 for Harbor Health Services to build a new community health center in Plymouth.
- Awarded the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America Congressional Leadership Award, recognizing Bill’s work in substance abuse prevention, education, treatment, and research.