Kentucky Prescription Drug Law Changed to Help Patients in Hospitals, Nursing Homes

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear approved legislation this week that modifies the state’s new prescription drug law, to make it easier for patients in hospitals, nursing homes and hospice centers to receive painkillers.

The original law, designed to cut down on prescription drug abuse, had the unintended consequence of making it more difficult for patients in institutional settings to obtain pain relief, the Associated Press reports.

“House Bill 1, which passed last year, was a remarkable and comprehensive effort to create real and substantial changes to upend prescription drug abuse, and it’s working,” Governor Beshear said in a news release. “Unlicensed pain management clinics have closed up shop. Prescriptions for the most addictive drugs have dropped every month since implementation. However, we recognized that a few issues needed to be worked out for the comfort of the most pain-stricken patients and for the practical needs of physicians, particularly in in-patient and long-term care settings.”

The new rules modify the diagnostic and treatment protocols for controlled substance prescribing, particularly to accommodate patients with acute pain management needs, such as end-stage cancer care.

House Bill 1, signed by Beshear last May, requires that all pain clinics be licensed, specifies requirements for ownership and employment, and obliges Kentucky’s licensure board to develop regulations for pain clinics. It gives law enforcement easier access to the state’s prescription drug monitoring database. Doctors must examine patients, take full medical histories, and check electronic prescription records before writing prescriptions for opioids.

5 Responses to Kentucky Prescription Drug Law Changed to Help Patients in Hospitals, Nursing Homes

  1. Jack | March 6, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    It is good to see some recognizing the need some have for these meds, and just making it hard for those in real need.

    • Cynthia Timko | March 26, 2013 at 2:29 pm

      I am a patient with a (probably) genetic chronic medical condition diagnosed in the state of Colorado aproximately 12 years ago. It is excruciatingly painful when not treated and sent me to the Social Security Disability roles. It took a number of yeras for my doctors to come up with the proper “cocktail” of pain relieving, muscle relaxing and anti-depressant drugs which made my life nearly normal again. I have lived in Colorado almost continuously since 1965. I moved to Kentucky in February to be closer to my family and particularly my 93 year old father. I chose as my general practictioner doctor a long time friend of my sister and her husband. At my first appointment with him after moving here, he took a look at my list of medications and told me I had literally walked into a “hornets’ nest” as far as getting the treatment I needed and have been getting safely, under the supervision of my long time Colorado doctors for over 20 years, developed over that period of time. Then he explained the “pill mill” law, which was also explined to me by the pain specialist he referrred me to. I am still very unsure of my position. These doctors, from what I have heard, and the clinics at which they work, are totally legitimate and my symptoms are recognized as real, but the doctors are practically terrified of prescribing the most relief giving RX’s that I have been taking for so long. And I am half way terrified that I will not get the legitimate help I need.
      I understand the need to control pill mills and reselling RX’s on the street, but Kentucky is not by any means alone with this problem. Before I came here, I briefly considered moving to Florida, where the problem is, indeed, rampant. It happens everywhere, even in Colorado, but I have nevr encountered such draconian laws as these, for a politically conservative state in particular, where interference by the government into a person’s private life is supposedly so abhorred. The Kentucky Legislature has come between doctors and legitimate patients like myself, invading our private relationship. It seems to me, that proper licensing of pain clinics (why was that not already the case?) and proper use of law enforcement to clean up the reselling of RX’s is much preferable, and I would guess, less expensive, certainly in human pain, rather than putting me and others like me, through a series of hoops to obtain the help we need, constantly checking us for the reality of our pain and verifying that we are not addicts (psych evaluation and urine tests, presumption of guilt….NO?) It has nearly been enough to drive me out of this state!

      • John | August 29, 2013 at 3:24 pm

        Amen. I deal with this problem every month. This law has interfered with my regular Docotor prescribing meds that aren’t pain meds because they might cause a problem with my Pain Clinic Pain Management if they show up in a drug screen. It doesn’t matter that we have discussed my care and the drug might help, the risk to being thrown out of the program is too much. The Pain CLinic on the other hand won’t prescribe the medicine because it isn’t related to my pain management. Catch 22. Patient suffers because the current issue goes untreated.

  2. Brandon Welsch | October 2, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    I agree they are crazy they can come up with some type of saloution that would help patients and doctors. Example would be if they prescribed any narcotics you must do a pill count 2 times a week. Or if they could make a thing to were u can only get dispe

  3. Mike Ashcraft | December 17, 2013 at 4:36 am

    I am furious that a Governor who is also a Doctor would allow patients to live in pain because of the actions of unscrupulous Doctors who simply throw pain medications at a patient who’s chief complaint is pain of unknown origin. In other words, instead of finding out why this patient is in pain by using common sense diagnostics to find the origin of the pain.

    As things now stand we have been classed with chronic drug abusers, and, the Doctors who have done all they can to diagnose and treat the pain stand accused of over-prescribing pain medications. The war on drugs has now shifted to the legitimate pain patient, and, their Physician’s and Surgeons. I know for whom I shall vote come next Gubernatorial election, Doctor Beshear, are you listening?

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