Legislative Changes

Governor Rick Scott signed bills passed in the 2011 Legislative session that change medical practices. These laws went into effect July 1, 2011 and because of these new LAWS, the policies and procedures for how you may have received prescriptions or refills of certain medication has changed. This is the law and must be followed.

  • counterfeit-proof prescription paper must be used to prescribe any CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE. [see the list of controlled substances here]
  • new “standards of practice” for a controlled substance prescribing practitioner are expressly defined and require
    • a complete medical history and physical exam
    • a written individualized treatment plan
    • a written controlled substance agreement
    • regular, follow appointments at least every 3 months

While Primary Care Physicians is not, nor have we ever identified ourselves as pain management providers, our patients do occasionally have pain. We also prescribe other medications classified in the same category as opioid and pain medications, such as sleep aids, anxiety medications, medications of Attention Deficit Disorders and muscle relaxers. There is no denying that, as family physicians and primary care providers, that we use these medications in the care of our patients and their medical problems but the state legislature has left the language in these laws vague and broad. Primary Care Physicians has NEVER dispensed any controlled substances from the premises. We do not stock any injectible narcotics. We do not write these schedule and controlled substances for the majority of our patients. And while we treat pain that is associated with medical problems, as family physicians, our goal is to address the CAUSE and ORIGIN of pain and treat that.  If no identifiable cause can be found, then our patients will be referred to the pain management specialists. More of our patients will be referred to the specialist because of these laws. The state is restricting the scope of the practice of medicine with regards to controlled substances and we will comply with the state laws. The treatment of pain and the chronic use of opioids and controlled substances will become a separate and distinct specialty of medicine and must be provided by the pain management specialist. We aren’t surgeons and could remove your tonsils or gallbladder. Likewise, we are not pain specialists and cannot manage your pain.

Florida has one of the highest rates of prescription drug abuse in the country, if not the world. In Broward County, there are more pain clinics than Burger Kings.

We must all do our part at limiting the flow of controlled substances onto the streets. And because of these new laws these are our new rules:

  • Before you can receive your next prescription, you must sign a controlled substance agreement. Refusal to sign this agreement will result in our INABILITY to write your prescription.
  • Any refills for controlled substances at your  pharmacy will cancelled.
  • If you have not been seen since July 1, 2011, call and make an appointment for your headaches, arthritis, ADD, insomnia, anxiety or whatever condition you may take these controlled substances.
  • Random drug testing can be ordered.
  • You are required by the STATE to be seen in the office AT LEAST every three months.

If you want more information regarding these laws, read them here: www.doh.state.fl.us/mqa/osteopath/




July 2011