The opioid crisis in America has spread to every state and city. With over 115 people suffering from drug-related fatalities daily, new laws addressing the misuse of opioid pain killers are being passed in many states. A reduction in the use of opioids is the main goal of opioid laws, which increased regulations for prescribing and dispensing of opioids in place. Although opioid laws strive to reduce drug-related fatalities, they often result in added pressure on physicians.
Electronic Medical Reporting System Requirements
Under many state opioid laws, physicians are required to integrate their medical record reporting systems with an automatic prescribing system. Many physicians who prescribe opioids may not have access to an electronic automatic prescribing system, making compliance with the new laws cumbersome and expensive. For physicians lacking electronic medical record integration, the alternative is to prescribe only small dosages of certain scheduled medications, which require patients to return every few days for their refills. This can create an administrative and logistical nightmare for many medical offices.
Fear of Professional Discipline
Certain physicians feel they are now at an increased risk of professional discipline for inadvertently overprescribing medications. With the plethora of new rules and regulations related to the dosage amounts and timing of prescriptions, physicians can be wary of prescribing any pain medications for fear of breaking an opioid law. In some cases, physicians have voluntarily relinquished their DEA licenses based on such fears.
Conflict with Insurance Companies and Pharmacies
Physicians may notice an increase in conflict with insurance companies and pharmacies resulting from the passage and enforcement of state opioid laws. Health insurance companies and pharmacists who improperly deny or delay prescriptions relying on opioid laws can create administrative red tape, wasting physician time and resources. Determining correct dosage amounts can also lead to professional disagreements among physicians, insurance companies, and pharmacies.
Managing Patient Care
As physicians strive to manage patient care, the management of opioid prescriptions has become an overwhelming task. While some physicians refer their patients to pain management clinics to address chronic pain, this is not always possible. Physicians are being directed to non-pharmaceutical pain resources to assist patients with chronic pain but offered little alternatives for the treatment in cases involving acute pain management. This often becomes an issue with respect to surgical patients who have acute pain related to a medical procedure.
Opioid laws also present special challenges for physicians who specialize in hospice situations, palliative patient care, and the treatment of certain types of cancer. When it becomes administratively burdensome to obtain the required opioid prescriptions for dying patients, the effects can be devastating. Physicians in these situations urge for exemption from dosage limits or preauthorization requirements to provide their patients with the pain control they desperately need.
Philadelphia Physician Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Assist Physicians in Legal Matters
If you are a physician affected by the new Pennsylvania opioid laws, the experienced Philadelphia physician lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. are here to help. Call today to schedule your free initial consultation at 215-569-1999 or submit an online inquiry form. We are in Philadelphia, and we serve clients from the surrounding areas, including Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County.