The New York State Department of Health (DOH) recently issued a letter to all practitioners and facilities reminding them of a change to the Public Health Law that became effective April 1, 2018. At that time, the law was amended to require that a written treatment plan be placed in the patient’s medical record when a practitioner prescribes opioids for pain management for longer than three months or past the time of normal tissue healing. The exceptions are:
- cancer that is not in remission;
- hospice or other end-of-life care; and
- palliative care.
DOH requires documentation of treatment plans, at a minimum annually, and they must include:
- goals for pain management and functional improvement based on a diagnosis and a discussion on how opioid therapy would be tapered to lower dosages or tapered and discontinued if the benefits do not outweigh risks;
- a review with the patient of the risks of alternatives to opioid treatment; and
- an evaluation of the risk factors for opioid-related harms.
MLMIC is always available to support our insureds and has resources to assist our policyholders with compliance, including Risk Management Tips that can be beneficial in formulating a plan and properly documenting the care and treatment of these complex patients:
- Risk Management Tip #10: Managing Patients with Chronic Pain
- Risk Management Tip #14: Managing Drug Seeking Patients
Additionally, the attorneys at Fager Amsler Keller and Schoppmann are available to provide guidance on the use of pain management contracts and further advice on relevant issues.