Tensions mounting as implementation of prescription drug bill nears on July 20

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg,
sponsored the prescription drug bill.
(Courier-Journal photo)

A controversial bill aimed at curbing prescription drug abuse, which was considered by many as the hallmark of the 2012 General Assembly, is creating tension as its implementation draws nearer. It takes effect July 20.

House Bill 1 puts more restrictions on pain clinics to prevent so-called pill mills from setting up shop in the state. It also requires doctors who prescribe controlled substances to use the state’s drug-monitoring system known as KASPER. It further requires licensing boards to set up standards to increase oversight and spell out how doctors should be using KASPER. “But many of the details remain uncertain — including how frequently doctors must run searches of patients — and several areas are poised to drive a wedge between the medical industry and lawmakers in the coming months,” reports Mike Wynn for The Courier-Journal.

The Kentucky  Board of Medical Licensure has written a draft proposal with dozens of new rules that have prompted confusion and anger among physicians. House Speaker Greg Stumbo, the bill’s sponsor, has questioned the move. “What it appears to me they are doing is almost making it over burdensome to practitioners, and one might argue that is an attempt to make the entire system fail,” he said.

Given the anticipated impasse, some expect Gov. Steve Beshear “to sign emergency regulations that will achieve at least some of the goals of HB 1, but those would expire within six months and wouldn’t be subject to a prior review process,” Wynn reports. (Read more)

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One Reply to “Tensions mounting as implementation of prescription drug bill nears on July 20”

  1. Robert Samuel White

    This law goes well beyond just hurting doctors…it has a direct impact on patients as well. Tens of thousands of innocent patients who suffer from an illness that may have absolutely nothing to do with pain medicine are directly impacted by this law…effectively putting us in the middle of a war on drugs that play no part in our lives.

    Further, the privacy implications of allowing our private medical data to be shared with state police and the attorney general goes well beyond what I would consider reasonable, and I highly suspect this will find its way into the appellate courts to have its unconstitutional elements removed.

    I'm now required to submit to mandatory random drug tests, as a patient, simply because I take a medication that helps me with a debilitating anxiety disorder. While I have nothing to fear, I still feel violated. It's a "guilty until proven innocent" mentality. And I shouldn't have to pay for such tests; my doctor should be able to use his best judgment in determining if such measures are necessary.

    I'm also required to see my doctor twice as often now. Combine all of these elements and the end result is that my insurance premium payments are going to literally double. At a time when federal law requires we carry health insurance, this is placing incredible demands on me financially.

    This law *is* well-meaning but it goes way too far…toward the doctors who are now criminally liable for just doing their jobs, and to patients as stated above. This should give us all pause. If the government requires this much direct control over us to win this war on drugs, they are failing. There is no reason why they shouldn't be able to determine which doctors are prescribing too many controlled substances; it's a simple matter of looking at reports they already have access to, through their DEA records.

    I've written an open letter on this subject detailing my personal story and how this law is impacting me. I encourage everyone to read it and to call, write, or email their local news organizations and share your own story as well; or share it in a comment in my own open letter. Let the legislators know that we support the goal, but not the means.

    http://www.facebook.com/notes/robert-samuel-white/open-letter-re-kentucky-house-bill-1/10152066419150533

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