Gov. Beshear signs prescription drug bill; doctor reacts

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - Governor Steve Beshear signed into law a bill to fight prescription drug abuse in the Commonwealth on Tuesday.

By signing House Bill 1, the governor said the state is delivering a message to the pill pushing doctors and the illegitimate pill mills in Kentucky.

"Get out of this state, because we're coming after you," said Governor Beshear.

House Bill 1 requires that prescribes use an electronic prescription monitoring program and that pain clinics be owned by medical practitioners.

"Whenever you feel like you have someone looking over your shoulder, questioning every decision you make, physicians might be more reluctant to prescribe pain medications than they have in the past," said Louisville Dr. Shaun McCarty.

House Bill 1, now signed into law, is meant to slash the alarming number of patients addicted to potent prescription medicine.
"It's kind of a frustrating situation because it's quite a bookkeeping nightmare for most physicians to have to go through," Dr. McCarty said.
Part of the bill includes having doctors update a statewide database of patient information called KASPER to curb repeat offenders, or those just looking for a high. 
"There's a significant lag in the information on the KASPER system; it's usually 30-to-60 days behind so a patient could receive quite a few prescriptions from quite a few doctors in a 60 day period and we won't know it," Dr. McCarty said.
He says it can take up to 20 minutes to check a patient's history using KASPER; precious time he says that's not spent actually treating the patient's needs.
"For practicing physicians it's kind of a scary thing thinking that even by doing the right thing you might be in violation of the law so it's going to take some time for all of us to get used to this," Dr. McCarty said.
Doctors will be forced to learn the new guidelines over the next several weeks, and prepare for the changes.
"It's such a complex piece of legislation that most physicians are going to have to sit down and go through it with their attorneys and hospital administrations and figure out how do I stay within the guidelines," Dr. McCarty said.
He's also fearful that it could also cut the strength and amount of medicine prescribed to patients desperately in need.
"You never want to under treat someone who's truly in pain," Dr. McCarty said.

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