Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Breaking News

July 25, 2013

State rule changes on painkillers loom

INDIANAPOLIS — A new law targeting “pill mills” may change the way doctors throughout Indiana treat patients with chronic pain by putting new protocols in place for prescribing opiod-based drugs.

The state’s Medical Licensing Board is considering an emergency set of rules, triggered by the new law, that calls for drug testing of pain-medication patients and more screening and monitoring of patients by doctors to detect drug addiction and abuse.  

If adopted, the emergency rules would go into place in December and likely be the basis for more permanent prescribing rules.

“This would be a sea change for providers who are used to writing out ‘scrips and just walking out the door,” said Dr. Amy LaHood, an Indianapolis family physician and a member the Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force, which supports the proposed new rules.

In April, the Indiana General Assembly passed a new law, dubbed the “pill mill bill”, that gives Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller new authority to crack down on what he’s called the thinly regulated pain-management clinics around the state.  

It gives the attorney general’s office more access to medical records maintained by pain clinics and requires every pain management clinic in Indiana be owned and operated by someone who holds a valid registration to prescribe controlled substances.

But the law goes much further, potentially impacting every doctor who prescribes addictive narcotics such as Oxycontin, Percocet, and Vicodin to patients with chronic pain.

The law mandates that the Medical Licensing Board adopt a set of rules for how doctors prescribe morphine and opiod-based drugs and how they monitor those patients. The board has until November to adopt the emergency rules, for them to go into effect in December.

The board got a look at a draft of the proposed rules Wednesday and heard from task force members that called them “sweeping” in scope but critical to reducing the number of drug overdoses in Indiana from prescription painkillers.

Dr. Deborah McMahan, the Allen County Health Commissioner and task force chair, said the proposed rules will require doctors to take a “more thoughtful and intentional approach” to prescribing pain drugs.

“Doses (of pain drugs) are being escalated without any real thought,” McMahan told the board.

The proposed rules are aimed at curbing dependence on pain-killing drugs and their illegal sale to drug abusers. They would only apply, for example, when a doctor writes a prescription for more than 60 opiod-containing pills in a month or a morphine-equivalent dose of 15 milligrams a day for three months.

The proposed rules would require doctors to do more screening of patients before prescribing the drugs, including the use of the state’s online database that tracks prescriptions for controlled substances.

It also requires patients undergo a urine or saliva drug-monitoring test before they get a prescription and additional drug tests while they’re on the pain killers, to determine the presence of other prescription or illicit drugs.

During the board hearing, LaHood said a similar drug-monitoring test is already in place at a family practice clinic in Indianapolis, run by St. Vincent Health, for patients prescribed pain-killing drugs. The test results showed about half of those screened either had an additional pain-killing drug in their system, or showed that they weren’t taking their prescribed pain medications at all.

McMahon and other task force members said the proposed rules intentionally exclude patients who are suffering from a terminal illness and receiving large doses of pain-killing medicine.

Some representatives of the state’s nursing home industry asked that adoption of the prescribing rules be delayed, to give them time to figure out how they’d  impact their patients. A representative from Indiana Academy of Family Physicians also asked for a delay, until March, to give doctors time to understand the new rules.

But Steve Huddleston, chairman of the Medical Licensing Board, indicated that a delay was unlikely.

“The legislature said this was an emergency,” Huddleston said. “I don’t see how we can duck that obligation.”

Maureen Hayden can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com

1
Text Only
Breaking News
  • Clinton Frame leaving IN-MI Mennonite Conference over same-sex marriage

    After nearly 100 years of being in the Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference, Clinton Frame Mennonite Church officials announced it will be leaving because of the controversy related to same-sex marriage.

    July 24, 2014

  • Red D Mart armed robbery New Paris Police ask for public's help in identifying would-be robber

    Elkhart County police have released still photos captured from video of the man who attempted to hold up Red D Mart gas station, 68310 Ind. 15, New Paris, on Saturday, July 19.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Red Cross in urgent need of donors

    The American Red Cross is facing a blood shortage, leading to an urgent need for donors of all blood types to roll up a sleeve and give.

    July 23, 2014

  • Huron Street residents under boil order

    Tuesday morning, Goshen water crews shut down the water main on Huron Street to replace a broken fire hydrant.
    The Indiana Department of Environmental Management requires the Water Utility to issue a boil water order for the affected area, which is Huron Street from West Lincoln to Pike Street.

    July 23, 2014

  • GN140723 CR34-Ind. 13 Crash 1 LaGrange man airlifted from scene of crash A motorcyclist was seriously injured in a crash at Ind. 13 and C.R. 34 at 1:48 p.m. Tuesday. Terry Fry, 44, LaGrange, was airlifted by MedFlight from the scene. Elkhart County police said he was taken to South Bend Memorial Hospital with fractures to

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Suspicious blinking package with battery pack causes police to evacuate business area

    A package with a battery pack and a blinking red light found on the desk of an employee at MSC, 28551 Laura Court, Elkhart, caused police and firefighters to evacuate the area this morning.
    The package turned out to be a GPS tracking device and not a bomb.

    July 22, 2014

  • Cat beaten to death in burglary

    A house cat was found beaten to death following a burglary at a home in Howe Sunday.

    July 21, 2014

  • GN140721 Kosciusko Fatal Photo #2.jpg Fiery crash kills one, critically injures two in North Webster

    A fiery crash in North Webster left a Pennsylvania man dead and two others critically injured at 3:21 p.m. Sunday on Ind. 13, near Esterbrook Drive.

    July 21, 2014 4 Photos

  • GN140719 obit mcdaniel Jeanine M. McDaniel OSCEOLA — Jeanine M. McDaniel, 61, died Thursday afternoon at Elkhart Hospice House. She was born Feb. 16, 1953 in Noble County, to Everett and Nyra Lucille (Reynolds) McDaniel. Surviving are two sisters, Patty (William) Wray, Paducah, Ky. and Bever

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140718 Rosalie Bontrager senior fair queen.jpg Bontrager wins senior queen title

    Rosalie Bontrager was crowned senior fair queen at the grandstand at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair Friday morning, July 18, 2014.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 U.N. School in Gaza Hit by Israeli Strike Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Officials Warn of Avoidable Death in Hot Cars Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' House Committee at Odds Over Obama Lawsuit Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record
Poll

Last weekend (July 12) the Goshen Parks Department held its Kid’s Try-athlon to promote childhood fitness and this week (July 18) the new bicycle trail is open to the fairgrounds in Goshen, offering residents a healthy way to get to the annual agriculture exposition. Have you joined the local fitness movement?

Yes, I work at eating healthy and exercising
No, I am happy with my fitness level
Changing my diet and exercise frequency is a work in progress
     View Results