Philadelpha, PA – Legislators at the NCOIL Summer Meeting recently advanced best practices to curb opioid abuse, misuse, and diversion that when finalized will give states a broad framework for enactment of their own reforms. The draft NCOIL guidelines, which address prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), physician prescribing practices, education and outreach, and treatment and recovery, received strong praise from interested parties, who asserted that NCOIL was taking a lead role in tackling the opioid epidemic.
According to Workers’ Compensation Insurance Committee Chair Rep. Bill Botzow (VT), who is sponsoring the proposal for discussion:
The proposed best practices are a real opportunity to instruct states looking for thoughtful solutions to a very complex and costly problem and are unique in their comprehensive approach. We are mindful that opioid abuse affects many different groups: physicians and pharmacists, hospitals, insurers, law enforcement and the court system, public health advocates, treatment and addiction services, Medicare and Medicaid, and others, and that they all must be included in state efforts.
“It is heartening,” he said, “that our work has the support of so many stakeholders and that we are promoting common ground on some exceptionally controversial, difficult issues.”
NCOIL President Rep. Charles Curtiss (TN) noted that states have made great progress in working to confront opioid concerns, but that opportunities exist for additional and perhaps even more successful reforms through sharing various approaches.
“The NCOIL best practices,” Rep. Curtiss said, “aim to spur legislative discussion and decision making and lead to common sense solutions that people who deal with opioid overuse can really sink their teeth into. My state, like others, has been making an effort to find workable solutions, and the NCOIL best practices will be an excellent resource moving forward.”
The Committee will vote on the proposed best practices during a joint session with the Health, Long Term Care & Health Retirement Issues Committee at the November Annual Meeting in Nashville. Prior to then, the Workers’ Comp Committee will give interested parties a chance to submit any comments or suggestions, and Committee members are encouraged to compare the draft guidelines against their states’ current requirements and to bring the proposal back to their district attorneys.
Participating in the Workers’ Comp Committee’s July 12 consideration of the proposal were representatives of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), American Medical Association (AMA), Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), and Property-Casualty Association of America (PCI), as well as David Heckler, District Attorney of Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Among other things, the proposed best practices address how to:
- establish, evaluate, and fund prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs)
- create strong evidence-based prescribing standards that recognize “one-size-does-not-fit-all” and that crack down on “pill mill” pain clinics
- promote enhanced and effective education of physicians and the public, including opportunities for safe drug disposal
- pursue options for encouraging treatment and recovery, including use of certain drug treatments and of drug courts
The proposed best practices are available at www.ncoil.org, on the Model Laws & Resolutions/Committee Working Drafts page.