Kentucky lawmakers may consider modifying a state law that requires doctors to use a prescription monitoring database for opioid pain medication, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.
The new law, signed by Governor Steve Beshear in May, aims to curb prescription drug abuse. The measure was opposed by the Kentucky Medical Association.
The law 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 will have to examine patients, take full medical histories, and check electronic prescription records before writing prescriptions for opioids.
On Monday, a legislative oversight committee on the law, heard from an emergency room physician who said the new regulations are “overreaching and will restrict access by legitimate citizens to much needed relief of pain and suffering.” Dr. Steven Stack called for changes in the law. He said an 80-year-old woman who comes to the emergency room with a broken wrist does not need a report from the state’s drug database, the Kentucky All-Substance Prescription Electronic Reporting System (KASPER), in order to get pain medication. “There are innumerable examples like this under a law that will require enormous extra work on the health community,” he said.
State Senator Jimmy Higdon, who sits on the law’s oversight committee, said he expects that the legislature will make changes in the law in the coming year.