Gov. Wolf signs Phillips-Hill’s bill addressing opioid oversight with Medicaid population

HARRISBURG – Governor Wolf signed legislation sponsored by Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) today that will ensure greater oversight of prescription drug use in the Commonwealth.

The new law provides Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) access to the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). The new law builds on a 2014 law that allowed prescribers, dispensers and the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General more information about filled prescriptions for controlled substances.

The system helps healthcare providers safely prescribe opioids, as well as identify patients who may need treatment or individuals who are illegally diverting prescriptions.

Phillips-Hill’s legislation expanded the law to include MCOs, which will provide another critical layer of oversight.

“This new law will help identify potential prescription drug abuse and save taxpayer money by identifying fraud and abuse, as well as reducing the need for drug treatment and rehabilitation in our Commonwealth,” Phillips-Hill said.

The Commonwealth lost 4,200 individuals to the opioid epidemic in 2018. Under the law written by Phillips-Hill, MCOs would be required to notify the Attorney General as well as the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services if a controlled substance is believed to be prescribed and/or dispensed fraudulently.

“While the system may flag an individual’s file, I look at it as flagging a potential life lost to the opioid epidemic,” she added. “This new law will hopefully cut down on the number of instances where controlled substances fall into the wrong hands with this increased oversight.”

The new law takes effect in 60 days.

You can listen to Senator Phillips-Hill discuss this new law here.

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