Gov. Steve Beshear gave credit this week to House Bill 1 for reducing the number of prescriptions written for frequently abused controlled substances and for closing the doors on 10 of the state's worst pain-management clinics. He also said the bill had promoted investigations into what he called "suspicious prescribing practices." Beshear, in a prepared statement, said: "We knew that this bill would have an immediate impact on thwarting the abuse and diversion of prescription drugs in our state, and the statistics over the last few months are already showing progress."
The governor also noted that Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting (KASPER) accounts have increased from 7,911 in April to 21,542 in October. Account users are physicians, dentists, optometrists, advances practice nurses and podiatrists who then use those accounts to check on the drug records of patients daily. Beshear, responding to frequent criticism that the reporting of KASPER results is time-consuming, remarked that "the vast majority of those requests are processed in less than 15 seconds."
John Cheves of the Lexington Herald-Leader also reported that state regulators said this week that "they're working with private
insurance companies and Medicaid managers to make sure health insurance
plans help cover the cost of urine tests required under HB 1." Cheves had written earlier about consumer complaints that the costs of those tests, now required by the bill, were being borne by the patient. The
Kentucky Department of Insurance is communicating with insurers to guarantee that urine tests under HB 1 are classified as a medically necessary expense, Insurance Commissioner Sharon Clark told Cheves. The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services is doing the same for Medicaid clients.