Thursday, June 7, 2012

The New Business of Prescribing Controlled Substances

Out of the heated debate between the Attorney General representing law enforcement and the Kentucky Medical Association representing physicians, the Legislature enacted Kentucky’s “Pill Mill Bill,” which is  sweeping legislation designed to combat prescription drug abuse through increased regulation of pain clinics and greater scrutiny of prescribing practices by various agencies of state government.  The Pill Mill Bill becomes effective on July 20, 2012 and imposes requirements not just for doctors practicing pain medicine, but for all practitioners who prescribe controlled substances.  In addition to placing significant limits on who can own a pain clinic and how a pain clinic is operated, the legislation requires Kentucky’s licensing boards, including the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure and the Kentucky Board of Nursing, to enact new regulations that impose standards for physicians, nurses and other practitioners when a Schedule II or Schedule III controlled substance is prescribed. Because the Pill Mill Bill imposes sweeping changes for pain clinics and prescribing practices, all health care providers and their patients will  face new challenges as procedures change.  Regardless of whether the legislation stops the shifting pattern of drug abuse from illicit to prescription drugs, physicians are at the center of the Pill Mill Bill and are now required to reduce the risk of diversion and abuse of prescription drugs when treating a patient’s pain. Whether the collateral effect of the Pill Mill Bill is the serious under treatment of pain is yet to be seen.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Health Care Quality Assurance Issues: Is Your Smartphone Secure -- from Infection?

Recent health care technology surveys indicate that the use of hand-held devices is increasing dramatically among physicians and other health care providers. According to a recent industry study, 38 percent of physicians use health-related mobile apps daily on smart phones or tablets, and they expect that number to increase above 50 percent within the next year.  A study from Manhattan Research found that 71 percent of physicians they surveyed already consider a smartphone essential to their practice.