New RI laws for providers, insurers and pharmacists intended to reduce opioid abuse

On July 12, 2016, Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo signed eight bills into law focused on limiting opioid abuse. Written by legislators on the governor’s Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force, the bills aim to be a “comprehensive approach” to the state’s opioid abuse crisis. From prescription limits for health care providers and pharmacies to new prescription coverage guidelines for health insurance providers, below is an outline of the new bills that will have the greatest impact for our clients:

  • 2016-S 2356Aaa, 2016-H 7616A: Requires health care providers to create thorough discharge plans for patients with substance abuse disorders, and heath care insurance providers are required to provide coverage for a broader range of medication-assisted treatment options.
  • 2016-S 2460Aaa, 2016-H 7710A: Requires health insurance providers that offer prescription coverage for opioid antagonists to cover the costs when these preventive medicines are purchased by a family member or friend to save an overdose victim’s life.
  • 2016-S 2823Aaa, 2016-H 8224A: Health care providers will be required to limit the prescription of opioid pain medications for patients with acute pain.
  • 2016-S 2874, 2016-H 7849: Allows Schedule V prescription data to be transmitted electronically, therefore decreasing the risk of fraudulent paper prescriptions.
  • 2016-S 2897, 2016-H 7847: Allows any medical health record or clinical management system vendor, agent, contractor or designee access to the prescription drug monitoring program.
  • 2016-S 2946A, 2016-H 8326: Allows pharmacists to see all prescriptions for a patient and provides for the detection of objectionable prescribing/dispensing patterns.