State And Federal Efforts To Monitor Drug Prescriptions And Payments Face Challenges
The Center For Public Integrity reports on the challenges Medicare faces in trying to ensure that prescription drugs paid for by its contracting health plans are actually prescribed by doctors. Meanwhile, The Miami Herald chronicles the latest chapter in the ongoing story about the state's pill mills.
Center For Public Integrity: Medicare Can't Identify Top Prescribers of Addictive Drugs
In early 2010, Medicare paid $135,000 to a discount pharmacy in Hialeah, Fla. for drug prescriptions written by four doctors. There were only a few problems. First, two of the doctors were dead. A third doctor was alive, living in Portland, Ore., but he never wrote the prescriptions. The fourth doctor was a few months into a three-year prison sentence, according to federal court records, for conspiracy to commit Medicare fraud. ... According to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) report released last week , the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are not checking to make sure that prescriptions paid by the health insurance plans that contract with Medicare are written by real doctors (Eaton, 2/8).
The Miami Herald: Gov. Scott Seeks To Kill Drug Database That Would Combat Pill Mills
Gov. Rick Scott wants to eliminate a computer system aimed at curbing the illegal sale of prescription drugs at storefront pain clinics, a move that alarmed narcotics investigators, drug-treatment advocates and some lawmakers. Just two years ago, state legislators approved the creation of a prescription drug monitoring program that would allow doctors to review the drug purchases of their patients, to prevent patients from seeking narcotics from multiple doctors - a practice known as "doctor shopping" (Hiaasen, 2/8).