Joyce and Reyes Pill Mill Attorney Praises Proposed Medicare Rule Cracking Down on Improper Prescriptions
Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) February 25, 2014 - Medicare is preparing to crack down on “pill mill” doctors and others who improperly prescribe drugs.
The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) released a proposed rule that, for the first time, would allow regulators to ban doctors who write harmful or fraudulent prescriptions from participating in Medicare.
“In Florida, we have seen the substantial impact that common-sense reforms have on pill mills,” said Tampa pill mill attorney Robert Joyce. “In 2011, we implemented strict new controls on dangerous narcotic painkillers. Most doctors cannot dispense these drugs from their offices, and prescriptions are tracked in a statewide database. In addition, some municipal governments have prohibited the opening of new pain clinics. Now, the majority of the pill mills have been closed, and deaths due to prescription drugs are on the decline. It's clear that solving this problem is a job for government at all levels. That's why this proposed new Medicare rule is so important.”
As currently written, the proposed rule would grant the CMS the authority to ban doctors and other providers from Medicare if they engage in improper prescribing. The agency could also ban providers whose state licenses have been revoked or suspended and providers who are restricted from writing prescriptions for painkillers and certain other drugs.
The change addresses some of the failures of Medicare prescription oversight revealed in a recent series of reports by ProPublica, a non-profit investigative journalism outfit.
ProPublica found that CMS and the private insurers that run Medicare Part D — the prescription drug benefit program — knew little about the doctors writing prescriptions under the program, even about those prescribing large amounts of addictive painkillers. The group also found that some doctors actively prescribing under Part D had lost their medical licenses, had been charged or convicted of crimes or had been removed from state-run Medicaid programs.
“This kind of lax oversight is unacceptable,” Mr. Joyce added. “CMS can do a much better job of monitoring painkiller prescriptions and keeping unethical doctors out of the system, while still allowing patients to get the medications they need.”
CMS will accept feedback from the public on the proposed rule until March 7, 2014. If finalized, the rule takes effect January 1, 2015.
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