AB474 was one of Gov. Brian Sandoval’s priority measures in the 2017 Legislative Session.

It’s an attempt to help both doctors and patients reduce opioid abuse in Nevada.  Labeled as the Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Act, the law doesn’t prevent providers from prescribing pain drugs or limit how much they can prescribe, but it does require they have reasons for prescribing.

Gina Newton, public information officer for William Bee Ririe Hospital and Rural Health Clinics, said they have been preparing for this new legislation for well over a year, starting in late 2016.

CEO Matt Walker along with Clinic Providers have worked through several options to ensure that the WBRH would be in compliance with the new Assembly Bill 474 and still be able to provide world class health care to the residents of White Pine County.

Many patients have already experienced the impact of this legislation as their Clinic Providers have been implementing changes in preparation for the Jan. 1 deadline.

There are a few changes patients may experience. One is all patients treated in the clinic, emergency room, or Surgery will now be required to sign a consent of treatment and controlled medication agreement in order to obtain controlled substances that treat pain.

Patients admitted to the hospital are exempt from these requirements at this time.  The consent of treatment includes common sense things like: not using medication with other legal or illicit medications, talking with your provider if you become pregnant, proper storage and disposal, risk for abuse, and using your medication only as prescribed.

Sheriff Scott Henriod was asked how he thought the change would affect law enforcement end of it here in White Pine County, he said “I’m  not sure how the new law is going to affect the black market for sales of opioids. On the surface it appears that it might slow it down due to more accountability.  The Sheriff’s office takes probably two to three reports a month about people losing their prescriptions or someone stealing them.”

Patients might not be aware of other requirements such as: random pill counts and drug urine screens, referrals to pain specialist, tapers of medications or changes to non-opioid medications, and alternative treatment referrals for physical therapy or chiropractor services. Providers are encouraged to not prescribe over 90 mg of morphine equivalents in a 24 hour period to a Opioid Naïve patients and reduce doses where possible of the those chronic pain patients.

Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance companies are requiring more information before covering controlled substances. Patients should plan accordingly and provide local pharmacies with more time when filling these prescriptions.

“This new legislation encourages providers and patients to work as team to improve patient safety,” Walker said. “William Bee Ririe Hospital and Rural Health Clinics are ready and look forward to working with our patients.”