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Will the New Kentucky Prescription Law Change How Doctors Prescribe?

Kentucky has now passed the Pill Mill legislation which purports to cut down on doctors who over-prescribe narcotic medications.  The bill has the support of the majority of pain management physicians, presumably because it protects them and gives them a greater monopoly of the system.  The likely consequence of this legislation will be for more referrals from primary care physicians to pain management specialists, thereby increasing the cost to consumers. House Bill 1, which would put strict requirements on pain management clinics, transfer authority of the state's prescription. monitoring system (KASPER) to the attorney general's office and make KASPER participation mandatory for those who prescribe schedule II and III narcotics, was voted out of the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday 12-0 with three representatives voting "pass."House Speaker Greg Stumbo, HB 1's primary sponsor, said an average of three Kentuckians die of prescription drug overdose each day, a number that could be three to five times greater if accurate data were available.The bill would require coroners to test for drugs in certain cases and report overdose deaths to the state Registrar of Vital Statistics and state police, and the Office of Drug Control Policy would compile an annual report of drug-related deaths.It would also, among other items, allow the attorney general to impose a yearly fee of no more than $50 on prescribers, require pain management clinics be owned by a physician with an active state medical license, authorize prosecutors to request KASPER reports in drug investigations, allow prescribers to review their own KASPER reports and make pain management facilities accept private health insurance to shut down cash-only operations.The legislation also mandates reporting through KASPER as well mandatory drug testing and background checks for patients.  This will likely reduce the number of eligible patients.  There is also another concern in that who will pay for the drug testing and background checks.  Medicaid does not cover the cost of the drug testing and many eligible patients cannot afford to privately pay for testing. If you have been charged as a physician running a pill mill or as a patient who is doctor shopping, you may need legal representation.  For a consultation in Northern Kentucky, contact Michael W. Bouldin at [email protected] or call 859-581-6453 (581-MIKE).

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