The Substance Use–Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act, also known as the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act of 2018, was enacted on October 24, 2018.

This law1 includes a provision to support the adoption of warm handoff policies, detailed below:

Public Law No. 115-271 – Section 7081 Program to Support Coordination and Continuation of Care for Drug Overdose Patients.

This provision has two main functions. It directs the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to develop warm handoff best practices, and it establishes a grant program for hospitals to implement warm handoff interventions.

Warm Handoff Best Practices

  • These allow for the emergency treatment of overdoses.
  • The use of recovery coaches encourages overdose patients to seek treatment for substance use disorder and support continued treatment and care.
  • A key part of these programs is coordination of continued care and treatment, including referrals.
  • These programs also provide or prescribe overdose reversal medication (naloxone) as appropriate.

Grant Program

  • This will provide grants for hospitals and other entities, such as state substance abuse agencies and Native American tribal organizations, to develop programs to treat individuals after a drug overdose. For hospitals, this includes developing their own internal warm handoff protocols on discharging patients who have presented with an opioid overdose.
  • Hospitals may use the grants to provide directly or through contract:
  • All drugs or devices approved or cleared under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act as well as all biological products licensed under section 351 of the Public Health Service Act to treat substance use disorders (SUDs) or reverse overdose;
  • Withdrawal and detoxification services that include patient evaluation, stabilization, and preparation for treatment of SUD; or
  • Mental health services provided by a certified professional who is licensed and qualified by education, training, or experience to assess the psychosocial background of patients, to contribute to the appropriate treatment plan for patients with SUD, and to monitor patient progress.
  • Hospitals may also use grant funds to hire recovery coaches, connect patients to a variety of recovery services, provide education to patients and their families, and to provide follow up services and encourage continued recovery treatment.
  • Grant funds may also be used to develop integrated models of care for overdose patients that can include assessment, follow up services, and transportation services to and from treatment facilities.


Disclaimer: This website is to be used for educational purposes only. The information on this site is not intended to provide legal advice.