Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local 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
Local News
  • Fresh shrimp business approved GOSHEN — Finding fresh shrimp in Elkhart County just got a little easier.

    August 21, 2014

  • NWS GN140822 john hertzel (2) John Hertzler relishes role with Goshen Historical Society GOSHEN — Visitors to the Goshen Historical Society’s museum might not know John Hertzler is there, tucked back in an office beyond the rows of historic documents, photographs and artifacts.

    August 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Lifelong Learning fall courses announced GOSHEN — The Lifelong Learning Institute of Elkhart County is offering fall courses. These short courses are designed to provide stimulating and affordable classes in many fields for active seniors. There are no tests or grades, and no previous studies or degrees are required.

    August 21, 2014

  • South Ninth Street area under boil water order South Ninth Street, between East Jackson and Franklin streets in Goshen, is under a boil water order from noon until further notice.

    August 21, 2014

  • GN140821 Pike Street Project 2 INDOT meeting held to discuss Pike Street project GOSHEN — Major changes may be on the way for a small section of Pike Street in downtown Goshen.

    August 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0821 goshen college challenge Locals embrace ice bucket challenge It’s a challenge that has united participants with the shared sensation of an icy burst of water, sopping wet clothing and video evidence — all in the name of philanthropy.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140821 nisly complaint Complaint filed against state rep candidate Accusations of wrongdoing, in the form of a complaint to the Indiana Election Commission, have been levied against District 22 representative Republican nominee Curt Nisly.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140820 dometic groundbreaking Dometic breaks ground on significant expansion in Goshen GOSHEN — As Dometic officials gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony for the $7 million expansion of their Goshen distribution center Wednesday, the work was already underway in the background. “It’s happening right now,” said Dave Schutz, vice presi

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140821 Ignition art Plenty of good music on horizon at Ignition Several upcoming shows at Ignition Garage in Goshen were announced this week.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • City plan nearing a final draft GOSHEN — The city’s new comprehensive plan is nearing completion, and a near-final draft has now been released for public review. Goshen Plan Commission members released the draft of the city’s newly penned comprehensive plan, titled “Uncommonly Grea

    August 19, 2014

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.
Poll

Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
     View Results
AP Video
Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Hamm Talks Emmy Chances Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Raw: Egypt Bus Crash Kills at Least 33 Two Bodies Found in Adjacent Yards Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Rescue Efforts Suspended at Japan Landslide Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Raw: Smaller Marches in Ferguson Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd Microbrewery Chooses Special Can for Its Beer Ky. Firefighters Hurt in Ice Bucket Challenge Federal Investigation Will Look at Use of Force Community Deals With Michael Brown Aftermath US: We Do Not Pay Ransom to Terrorists