Tuesday, April 30, 2013

On My Desk: A Litany of Legislation

The past couple of weeks have seen a significant number of legislative and regulatory efforts that warrant the attention of anyone working in our industry.  I couldn't decide which one to dig deeply into first, so here's an overview of what's sitting on my desk.  Look for deeper dives into each one over the next couple of weeks.

Florida has managed once again to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the battle over repackaged medications.  Senate Bill 662 (and companion House Bill 605) stipulate a compromise approach to pricing for repackaged drugs - 112.5% of the original manufacturer's AWP plus an $8 dispensing fee.  Setting aside for a moment the lack of logic behind differential pricing models for pharmacies and physicians, the larger impact of the legislation will be felt from the repeal of 440.13(12)(c) which smart payers were using to re-price these repackaged medications.  Senator Alan Hays is celebrating the compromise and while I give him credit for leading the fight over the last several years, the outcome is not a victory for Florida payers. 

Minnesota is attempting to update its approach to long term use of opioids.  Senate Bill 1603 (and its companion House Bill 1799) call for the adoption of "rules establishing standards for health care provider treatment."  Such rules are already in draft form and could quickly follow the adoption of the legislation.  Rules could govern such practices as opioid agreements between doctors and patients, frequency and content of follow up visits, and referrals to pain management specialists.

New York is asking for comment on newly proposed medical treatment guidelines for non-acute pain.  Comments are due by June 10.  At first glance, the guidelines appear comprehensive (the document is 90 pages with a sole focus on non-acute pain management).  The question will be: are they sufficiently specific to actually make an impact in prescribing behavior. 

Last, but certainly not least, is Oklahoma's Senate Bill 1062 (all 556 pages of it).  While I do not believe the adoption of this bill will lead to either widespread "opting out" within Oklahoma or widespread adoption of similar legislation in other states, it's nonetheless indicative of broader systemic issues and frustration around the workers' compensation. 

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