Colorado showcased as a leader in combatting the opioid epidemic

by Halea Meese, Medical Student Component representative on the CMS Board of Directors

Alethia (Lee) Morgan, MD, chair of the Colorado Delegation to the American Medical Association, and I attended the AMA State Advocacy Summit in Scottsdale, Ariz., Jan. 10-12. The Summit, entitled “Successful Advocacy in Turbulent Times,” focused on novel approaches to state advocacy amidst a very unstable federal regulatory climate. Attendees learned about using social media as to means to self-brand and influence legislative opinion and also received updates from the AMA advocacy staff and health policy leaders such as Len Nichols, Ashish K. Jha and Matt Salo.

The summit prominently showcased Colorado’s efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, with Colorado’s interim Insurance Commissioner Michael Conway serving as a guest panelist along with the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance Chief of Staff Alison Beam. The panelists found many commonalities among the approaches the two states are employing, including establishing standing orders for naloxone and ensuring all insurance plans carry one medication on the lowest insurance tier for each class used for mediation-assisted treatment of opioid use disorder.

Additionally, Denver and Philadelphia are the first cities in the nation to approve supervised injection facilities, which could be a major step forward for harm reduction in the states. Both states have been looking at insurers very closely to ensure opioid alternatives are being provided and that these insurers are closely following insurance regulations.

Members can download further information from the State Advocacy Summit, including the AMA-Manatt Spotlight on Colorado and presentations from the summit at

Categories: Communications, Colorado Medicine, Students