For years Ohio Governor John Kasich and his administration have been attacking the opiate prescription problem.
They have set new rules for reporting and prescribing opiates for acute pain, and now they are proposing new rules for how to deal with chronic pain.
Unlike the rules that limit the amount of pills that can be prescribed in acute situations, the rules for chronic pain take a different approach.
Chronic pain prescriptions will be subject to what the administration calls checkpoints.
These checkpoints will trigger based on the potency of the pain medicine.
The higher the medicine the more prescribers will have to do in order to actually write that script for their patient.
The administration says this will improve communication between patients and their providers.
At the lowest checkpoint levels, prescribers will have to re-evaluate the status of the patients underlying condition that is causing them pain.
They will also be asked to look for signs of prescription misuse, and consider consulting with a specialist in pain management and secure written informed consent.
At the highest levels the recommendation of consulting with a specialist becomes a requirement.
The new rules would not apply to patients who have a terminal condition or who are staying at the hospital for their care.
The administration wants to make it clear they are not taking away people’s medication.
However, a nurse practitioner named Amy says they may be inadvertently doing just that.
Amy works in palliative care and says she has already seen some insurance companies refusing to pay for prescriptions based on the CDC guidelines the administration is using for the basis of these rules.
She also says that some prescribers are refusing to issue scripts for opiates at all because they are concerned they will be held responsible.
The new rules won’t go into effect until later this fall.