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 The agency could also ban providers whose state licenses have been revoked or suspended and providers who are restricted from writing prescriptions for painkillers and certain other drugs.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.
Learn more at http://www.joyceandreyespa.com
Joyce and Reyes Law Firm, P.A.
307 S Hyde Park Ave
Tampa, FL 33606
- Florida Pill Mill Doctor Receives 30-Year Prison Sentence
A Florida Panhandle doctor has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for operating a “pill mill” (a center for the inappropriate or non-medical distribution of narcotics). Dr. Robert L. Ignasiak, 58, was known as “Dr. Bob” in Freeport, Florida. For a period of several years, he worked as the only physician in town. Ignasiak […]
- Following Pill Mill Crackdown, South Florida Doctor Explains Alternative Treatments for Chronic Pain in New Documentary
Florida has made strong progress in driving unethical pill mill doctors and drug dealers from the state, but many Floridians still suffer from chronic pain. A new documentary from the Discovery Channel features a South Florida doctor who says drug addiction and pain management often go hand in hand. Dr. Melanie Rosenblatt is director of […]
- In a Rear-End Collision, How Might the Lead Driver Share in the Responsibility?
A young man died while driving his pickup truck on U.S. 19 when he rear-ended a fully-loaded dump truck, police said. The auto accident occurred shortly after 2 a.m. just north of Klosterman Road in Tarpon Springs. Tarpon Springs police said Joshua Saunders was northbound on U.S. 19 when he collided with the dump truck, […]
- Families Turn to Hidden Cameras to Uncover Nursing Home Abuse
A recent article in the New York Times covers the growing use of some high technology in curtailing nursing home abuse: hidden cameras. Reporter Jan Hoffman tells the story of 96-year-old Eryetha Mayberry, an Oklahoma City nursing home resident with dementia. Mayberry’s daughter, Doris Racher, noticed that a few of her mother’s belongings had gone […]
- U.S. Sees First Increase in Auto Accident Fatalities Since 2005
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released a finalized report on motor vehicle crashes and fatalities in 2012. Following six consecutive years of declines in fatalities, the United States saw a 3.3 percent increase in 2012. On the nation’s roads, 33,561 people lost their lives in 2012, compared with the 32,479 who died […]