Monday, April 30, 2012

Major newspapers publish reflections, reactions and details (including videos) on new law that will fight 'pill mills'

Reflections on the new law to fight "pill mills" are in both of Kentucky's major metropolitan newspapers today.

The Courier-Journal, which rightly takes partial credit for focusing attention on the issue, has a story by Laura Ungar that summarizes what the bill will do and not do. In the Lexington Herald-Leader, Kentucky Medical Association President Shawn Jones has an opinion piece defending his organization's lobbying against key parts of the bill.

"Unfortunately, in a desire to pass something, many did not consider the details of proposed legislation, and many of the details were extremely troublesome," writes Jones, right. "Most troubling were the proposed infringements on patient privacy through access to the state's Kentucky All Scheduled Prescription Electronic Reporting, or KASPER, system, which contains what is essentially a log of all of the controlled substances an individual has bought. A controlled substance is not just what many people have characterized as 'pain medicine.' It also includes prescriptions for medicines for anxiety, depression or attention deficit disorder." (Read more)

Jones is among the people featured in videos posted with The Courier-Journal's story. Others include Dr. Greg Cooper of Cynthiana; attorney Fox DeMoisey, who represents physicians accused of malpractice; and Dr. Patrick Murphy, a pain-management physician, talking about the various responsibilities of doctors in his field.

1 comment:

  1. This law goes well beyond just hurting has a direct impact on patients as well. Tens of thousands of innocent patients who suffer from an illness that may have absolutely nothing to do with pain medicine are directly impacted by this law...effectively putting us in the middle of a war on drugs that play no part in our lives.

    Further, the privacy implications of allowing our private medical data to be shared with state police and the attorney general goes well beyond what I would consider reasonable, and I highly suspect this will find its way into the appellate courts to have its unconstitutional elements removed.

    I'm now required to submit to mandatory random drug tests, as a patient, simply because I take a medication that helps me with a debilitating anxiety disorder. While I have nothing to fear, I still feel violated. It's a "guilty until proven innocent" mentality. And I shouldn't have to pay for such tests; my doctor should be able to use his best judgment in determining if such measures are necessary.

    I'm also required to see my doctor twice as often now. Combine all of these elements and the end result is that my insurance premium payments are going to literally double. At a time when federal law requires we carry health insurance, this is placing incredible demands on me financially.

    This law *is* well-meaning but it goes way too far...toward the doctors who are now criminally liable for just doing their jobs, and to patients as stated above. This should give us all pause. If the government requires this much direct control over us to win this war on drugs, they are failing. There is no reason why they shouldn't be able to determine which doctors are prescribing too many controlled substances; it's a simple matter of looking at reports they already have access to, through their DEA records.

    I've written an open letter on this subject detailing my personal story and how this law is impacting me. I encourage everyone to read it and to call, write, or email their local news organizations and share your own story as well; or share it in a comment in my own open letter. Let the legislators know that we support the goal, but not the means.