A bill to crack down on illegal pain clinics has been introduced in the Kentucky House.
Governor Steve Beshear, Attorney General Jack Conway and House Speaker Greg Stumbo, all Democrats, collaborated on the bill.
It would transfer the operation of KASPER, a statewide pill tracking system, to the Attorney General’s office. It would also require all doctors practicing in Kentucky to use the system.
Law enforcement, nurses and doctors would have direct access to KASPER data, under the measure. It would also allow information from KASPER to be included in medical files.
Stumbo says the goal is to eliminate the commonwealth’s prescription pain drug epidemic.
“What we’re trying to do is strike at the heart of the problem and that is the doctors that overprescribe,” Stumbo says. “And the patients who try to manipulate the system and get more prescriptions because what they with those prescriptions is sell ‘em. They end up on the black market.”
If the measure becomes law, KASPER will get more funding, so it can provide real-time information. All doctors, nurses and law enforcement officers will have access to the system. And the data will be added to medical files.
The bill also requires the board of Medical Licensure to track, investigate and shut down all illegally used pain clinics. If the licensure board doesn’t do so, the Attorney General can take action.
Here’s the full strength of what the bill does, according to Stumbo’s office:
- Attorney General to operate KASPER system.
- Governor to appoint pain and addiction specialists to licensing boards.
- Kentucky State Police, Office of the Attorney General, and Licensing Boards to share reports of improper prescribing.
- Licensing Boards required to act promptly on complaints. Immediately upon receipt of an improper prescribing complaint, the appropriate licensing board shall initiate an investigation, seek any needed expert assistance, and issue a report within sixty (60) days determining whether appropriate medical practices have been followed. This report shall be transmitted to KSP and OAG.
- Administrative suspension of prescribing privileges required in appropriate cases. The licensing board shall immediately suspend prescribing privileges in any case where public safety (or the health and safety of a patient) is compromised, and promptly conduct a full disciplinary hearing. This rapid response will ensure that the public is protected from dangerous prescribing practices by administrative action without delay.
- Report of charges against prescribers.
- Prescribers to adhere to safeguards prior to dispensing controlled substances.
- KASPER registration and use required.
- “Pain Management Clinics” to be owned by licensed practitioner.
- Direct dispensing of drugs must be reported.
- Commonwealth’s and County Attorneys authorized to request KASPER reports.
- Medical professionals may place KASPER reports in patient’s records.
- Medicaid Services to monitor and report improper prescribing practices.
- Proactive data mining and regular trend reports required.
- Prescribing thresholds set, notices sent to licensing boards, cooperation required.
- Local hospitals to assist in drug diversion prevention.
- Licensing Boards required to adopt procedures for suspending prescribing privileges in appropriate cases.
- Coroners to test for drugs and report; Name and address of decedent not reported.
- Mandatory license restrictions resulting from criminal conviction of prescriber.
- License suspended or surrendered in another jurisdiction to be reported.
- AG to ensure licensing boards performing duties. AG may bring civil action to enforce licensing board requirements.
- Person who prescribes in violation of law is guilty of trafficking in a controlled substance.
- Boards to accept unsworn complaints.
- Nurse practitioners not to refill Schedule II prescription for six months. Nurse practitioners required to maintain KASPER account. Nursing Board must include specialists in pain and addiction management.
- Shipments of Schedule II and III drugs limited to 30 day supplies. Pharmacies may accept prescriptions for up to 90 day supplies, but may only ship in 30 day allotments.