A Florida lawmaker is attempting to criminalize many aspects of medical care of pain patients, making some Florida pain management specialists and pharmacists at risk of ending up in jail.
According to this article in the Miami Herald, Rep. Schenck is proposing stiff penalties for “people who prescribe powerful narcotics like OxyContin, Xanax and Vicodin.” He is also proposing to make it a misdemeanor if pharmacies do not obtain copies of fraudulent prescriptions.
In the article, Rep. Schenck states that he proposed his legislation to save the 7-10 people who die from prescription drug overdoses each day in Florida. You can tell the got a lot of input from practicing medical providers about this well thought out plan.
Section 1 of the bill allows the state to obtain copies of medical records from health providers or pharmacies if the state believes that practitioners or pharmacies are practicing below the standard of care, inappropriately prescribing or dispensing controlled substances, using inappropriate billing codes, or are inappropriately soliciting patients. Doesn’t say how reasonable the state’s belief must be before they can demand the records, only that the state has to have a belief.
Section 4 of the bill, among other things, makes it a third degree felony if a practitioner dispenses samples of any controlled substances without first writing the practitioner’s name, the patient’s name and the date dispensed on the package labeling. See the referenced statue here (.pdf file).
Section 9 of the bill makes it a misdemeanor if any person employed by a pharmacy who knows or should have known that a patient is attempting to obtain controlled substances from the pharmacy through “fraudulent methods or representations” and does not report this “fraud” within 24 hours. The report must contain, “at a minimum,” copies of prescriptions, identifying information on the physician and the patient, and a “narrative” about the transaction, including video or photo surveillance of the transaction if available.
Being able to report drug seekers is one thing. Potentially going to jail if you don’t report them is quite another.
And how many people think that the state will jump into action and run right out to the drug seekers’ homes and arrest them? Bueller? Bueller … ? Bueller ….. ?
Section 18 of the bill basically states that “dispensing practitioners” who have purchased more than an average of 2000 unit doses of controlled substances per month from suppliers are going to be on the state’s hit list. The Department of Health is going to identify those practitioners that pose “the greatest threat to public health” and “coordinate with local and federal law enforcement agencies” to
shake down go and place a friendly visit to those practitioners and “quarantine the controlled substance inventory of such dispensing practitioners on site.” Then they’ll seize and destroy any controlled substances they believe are not appropriate.
Florida laws already revoke the license of any physician hit with more than three malpractice judgments.
South Florida also happens to be fourth on the list of Judicial Hellholes in the United States.
Now Florida is taking steps to criminalize medicine and pharmacy.
I think I’ve figured out why I keep getting so many recruiting e-mails that need doctors to work at hospitals in Florida.
Why would anyone want to take a chance on practicing medicine in that state?