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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.

7 Responses to this article

  1. Linda Brock / September 16, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    I have been suffering with lower back pain since 1992. I have had 7 separate back surgeries. I have also had a ebi stimulator implanted in my back. After much suffering along with my pain specialist and neurologist I was able to have a little pleasure in my life. I could take care of myself halfway take care of my home. I at least had a little life. After this legislation passed the best doctor I ever had that kept me on the lowest doses possible and still allowed me to have a life left I had been seeing him for years. I have chronic insomnia. I have stayed up as long as 7 days and nights and even gotten so bad my family thought I had a mini stroke.
    I go to a pain clinic for my meds. I haven’t had any trouble with getting my pain meds but the dosage I get I have been on for several years. I lost my whole summer because of this legislation you just can’t function without sleep. All the progress I had made with reducing my back pain I lost. It’s hard to walk and keep moving when you are so tired from lack of sleep. I never thought I would live to be 60 years old and would be treated as if I was a drug addict. I have followed the instructions of my doctors. my life as I have known it is over. I know of so many people my age in the same situation. Whom ever thinks that this legislation has helped the pill problem better not pat themselves on the back to soon. When the druggies can’t get the pills they are just bringing out the little meth labs. The only ones that are suffering are the people that really need the medication and are taking it right. It’s a sad day when you are suppose to be in enjoying your golden years and a piece of legislation takes it away from you. It’s impossible where I live to get a doctor to write a medication if it’s on the Casper list. I really wonder if I will live long enough to see this changed. This summer has taken a terrible toll on my health. I really don’t know what to do. There has been times I didn’t think I would make it. Something’s got to give.

  2. jacqueline fields / June 10, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    I have fibromyalgia and want to die most of the time because my dr. left state because of mr breshears legislation. since then ive been through 3 pcps and 3 pain clinics because the meds for fibro-is not covered on ins. Cymbalta, generic is 400.00 a month-I cant get. savella- about 100.00 a month which im allergic to- and now Celebrex 200.00 month that I cant afford but different doctors have told me that id have to leave state to have my pain controlled with Percocet that ive been on for years.i went in april to Nashville tenn but I cant go back because its too far for my body to go.ive come to realize that our dr.s in ky are more afraid of steve breshear-than they are of letting their patients die in pain.believe me I have also contemplated suicide because the pain is not still fighting it out with the govenors office-if I do die- I want my fam to sue mr. breshear because its his emergency legislation last year that has caused this mess. Jacqueline fields

  3. Avatar of Mike Ashcraft
    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?

  4. Avatar of Brandon Welsch
    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

  5. 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.

  6. Avatar of Cynthia Timko
    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!

  7. Avatar of John
    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.

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