Skip to content

Mayor Bloomberg Restricts Painkiller Scripts at Public Hospitals:Doctors Are Part of the Prescription Addiction Problem

January 16, 2013

News bite from Bloomberg’s perspective:

“Abuse of prescription painkillers in our city has increased alarmingly,” Mr. Bloomberg said in announcing the new policy at Elmhurst Hospital Center, a public hospital in Queens. Over 250,000 New Yorkers over age 12 are abusing prescription painkillers, he said, leading to rising hospital admissions for overdoses and deaths, Medicare fraud by doctors who write false prescriptions and violent crime like “holdups at neighborhood pharmacies.”

SO, Mayor Bloomberg’s response:  to limit prescriptions for painkillers to a 3-day supply.  Strangely enough, the Mayor neglects to delve into details about Medicare fraud and how that dovetails with prescription drug abuse in the city and how limiting a script to 3 days worth of pills will fix that, but maybe it allows for more oversight?  But who gets to investigate prescriptions filled for Medicare recipients to determine how many painkillers are prescribed?  How are scripts flagged for review?

According to the NYTImes, and flagged on Jezebel, for a link, the limits of prescription drug painkiller prescriptions will help curb drug addiction related problems. Doctors aren’t too happy about it either, saying it restricts their personal judgment, but then again, why isn’t anyone coming out and admitting that addiction to prescription drugs requires physicians to be part of the problem:  if you can’t get prescriptions from a doctor, and the doctor prescribes drugs to addicts, then the doctors are the silent coefficient in this equation, but they don’t want to admit it.  Apparently neither do legislators, but they will limit prescriptions the doctors can dole out:

Under the new city policy, most public hospital patients will no longer be able to get more than three days’ worth of narcotic painkillers like Vicodin and Percocet. Long-acting painkillers, including OxyContin, a familiar remedy for chronic backache and arthritis, as well as Fentanyl patches and methadone, will not be dispensed at all. And lost, stolen or destroyed prescriptions will not be refilled.

City officials said the policy was aimed at reducing the growing dependency on painkillers and preventing excess amounts of drugs from being taken out of medicine chests and sold on the street or abused by teenagers and others who want to get high.

“Abuse of prescription painkillers in our city has increased alarmingly,” Mr. Bloomberg said in announcing the new policy at Elmhurst Hospital Center, a public hospital in Queens. Over 250,000 New Yorkers over age 12 are abusing prescription painkillers, he said, leading to rising hospital admissions for overdoses and deaths, Medicare fraud by doctors who write false prescriptions and violent crime like “holdups at neighborhood pharmacies.”

But some critics said that poor and uninsured patients sometimes used the emergency room as their primary source of medical care. The restrictions, they said, could deprive doctors in the public hospital system — whose mission it is to treat poor people — of the flexibility that they need to respond to patients.

“Here is my problem with legislative medicine,” said Dr. Alex Rosenau, president-elect of the American College of Emergency Physicians and senior vice chairman of emergency medicine at Lehigh Valley Health Network in Eastern Pennsylvania. “It prevents me from being a professional and using my judgment.”

Hmm, of course the legislature meant to limit the judgment, because they have obviously found doctors’ judgments’ faulty and have overruled a doctor’s opinion with a legislative one.

Seems like that’s exactly what the legislature intended, to limit a doctor’s judgment calls.

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: