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Pain Medication Legislation

U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, introduced legislation last month addressing the consequences of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s scrutiny of pain medication prescribing practices in nursing homes across the county.
According to the website aging.sen.gov, the increased probe has left some patients in pain as nursing home staff try to adhere to the Controlled Substance Act.
Under the Nursing Home Resident Pain Relief Act of 2011, a physician may authorize the nursing home administrator to designate nurses or other licensed health professionals who on a physician’s instruction may administer pain-relieving controlled substances whose medical condition warrant immediate pain relief. The bill requires written documentation of the procedure.
Before the CSA, nurses could call urgently needed prescriptions into pharmacies upon a doctor’s telephoned order. The doctor would follow up with written confirmation. The CSA now requires doctors to directly prescribe in writing all pain medication before they can be dispensed, even in an emergency.