Gov. Kasich Releases Proposed Rules Aimed at Reducing Opioid Prescriptions

Governor John Kasich and the state’s medical licensing boards have announced proposed rules for acute pain prescribing, with the goal of reducing the number of opiate painkillers that are distributed to patients. For short-term pain, the rules would limit the amount of prescription opioids to no more than seven days for adults and five days for minors. The prescriptions cannot exceed an average of 30 morphine equivalent doses per day. Also, physicians would be required to provide a specific diagnosis and procedure code for every painkiller prescription they write, to be entered into the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS). Healthcare providers can prescribe opiates in excess of the new limits only if they provide a specific reason in the patient’s medical record. The limits would not apply to care for cancer, palliative care, end-of-life or hospice care, or medication-assisted treatment for addiction. 

The rules don’t require new legislation, Gov. Kasich said, because they are updates to current policy and they reinforce the guidelines created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for acute pain.

The administration estimated that the new rules would reduce the number of opiate doses by 109 million per year.

The proposed rules will be discussed by the State Medical Board of Ohio (SMBO) during the April 12 policy committee meeting and then proceed into Ohio’s standard rule review and adoption process. Further information and specific prescribing information will be provided by the SMBO once the rules are finalized, but before they become effective.   

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