As the number of victims claimed by the opioid epidemic continues to rise, federal, state and local governments have undertaken a multi-faceted effort to confront this public health crisis. In Pennsylvania, Senator Ryan P. Aument has proposed legislation, Senate Bill 1152, designed to improve the communication between prescribers and patients who require opioid therapy.
The Bill would place additional responsibilities on physicians who are issuing their patients the first prescription in a course of treatment for chronic pain with a controlled substance containing an opioid. In addition to discussing the risks associated with opioid therapies, physicians would also be required to enter into “treatment agreements” with patients starting treatment for chronic pain. The treatment agreement would set forth the following:
- The goals of the treatment;
- The individual’s consent to targeted drug testing when the physician determines such testing is medically necessary to monitor the individual’s adherence to their treatment;
- The prescription drug prescribing policies of the provider;
- A requirement that individuals inform their prescribers of any other controlled substances they are prescribed or taking; and
- Reasons why the opioid regime may be changed or discontinued by the prescriber.
Physicians would also be required to conduct a baseline drug test for patients starting chronic pain treatment prior to issuing any prescription opioids.
The proposed legislation was referred to the Health and Human Services Committee, where the bill will need to be considered and approved before moving to the Pennsylvania Senate floor for consideration. Those interested in reviewing the proposed legislation can do so here.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the proposed legislation or the requirements for prescribing opioids, please contact any of Houston Harbaugh’s health care attorneys.
To learn more about our health law attorneys and the services we provide to healthcare providers, visit our Health Care Law Practice page.
In order to navigate the complicated and ever-changing laws surrounding health care and your business, you need attorneys who understand your challenges. The Pittsburgh health care lawyers at Houston Harbaugh, P.C., have the knowledge and experience to help you manage everyday issues, as well as plan for the future.
Jessica A. Ellel - Practice Chair
Chair of Houston Harbaugh’s Health Law Practice, Jessica works almost exclusively with health care entities and health practitioners. She has extensive experience with:
- Drafting and negotiating physician employment agreements from both the physician and employer perspectives
- Negotiating contracts between physicians and hospitals
- Preparing purchase agreements to govern the sale of medical practices
- Advising on corporate governance issues, from practice formation to dissolution
- Developing comprehensive compliance plans for physician practices, hospitals, third-party billing administrators, and other health care and related entities
- Organizing strategies for compliance with fraud and abuse laws
- Addressing HIPAA compliance
Jessica is especially well-versed in HIPAA compliance and authors numerous client updates and bulletins on the subject. She conducts on-site and remote HIPAA training and also maintains Houston Harbaugh’s HIPAA compliance manual, ” Federal HIPAA Privacy Standards Simplified: A Comprehensive Tool-Kit”.