84°F
weather icon Clear

Nevada medical board to review rules for new opioid law

Updated January 16, 2018 - 12:08 pm

The Nevada Medical Board of Examiners is delaying implementation of a new opioid prescription law after dozens of doctors complained that the change is burdensome and enforcement is confusing.

Assembly Bill 474, which went into effect Jan. 1, requires Nevada licensing boards to create regulations that outline disciplinary actions to be taken against doctors who prescribe opioids in violation of the bill, which requires physicians to perform a risk assessment on patients before writing opioid prescriptions, limit initial prescriptions of the drugs to two weeks and get the patient’s consent to random drug testing if the prescription is extended to a month.

Doctors have complained that the risk assessment takes too long and that patients are deterred from seeking help by the threat of random drug testing.

The Board of Medical Examiner’s decision Thursday to postpone implementing new regulations resulted from the complaints of about 40 physicians, lawyers and others who argued during a Jan. 3 meeting that the draft disciplinary rules make unreasonable paperwork demands and do not specify what types of conduct could lead to penalties or revocation of medical licenses.

“We agreed based on comments at the workshop that we should pull back our efforts to implement the draft regulations” and focus instead on developing regulations that would be fair and amenable to licensees, board Executive Director Ed Cousineau said Friday.

The board said in a statement it will create an “AB474 Working Group” to study the law, explore how it affects patients and medical providers and collaborate to develop “workable solutions” to the law’s requirements.

The group, which will be made up of two board members, a representative of the Nevada legislature, representatives from the Nevada State Medical Association, and other relevant stakeholders, will strive to propose regulations that will both comply with AB 474 and its intent, and support licensees in their practice and serve the genuine needs of their patients.

Cousineau said the board has not decided who will be in the working group and has no timeline for when the group will meet or when regulations will be submitted for review, but that it likely will be a six-month process. The board’s main priority, he said, is getting the appropriate parties involved in drafting the new regulations.

“There’s always someone who’s not going to get what they want,” Cousineau said.

The board has been drafting and revising the regulations contested at the Jan. 3 workshop since AB474 went into effect for administrative purposes in June.

“It wasn’t like we were sitting on it,” Cousineau said.

The board submitted the draft language at its quarterly meeting in September, received revisions from the Legislative Council Bureau in November and, because it had to wait 30 days to hold a public meeting, opted to conduct the workshop after the holidays, Cousineau said. Once assembled by the board, the working group must propose new regulations to the board for its blessing and wait for the legislative committee’s approval to put them into law.

Gov. Brian Sandoval mentioned the bill’s turbulent enrollment during a National Governors Association panel discussion Friday.

“I sponsored legislation in the past two Legislatures to combat the opioid epidemic in Nevada. We lose a Nevadan every day because of this,” Sandoval said during the panel.

Sandoval said he understands physicians’ frustration with the law, but ultimately, doctors share the same goals as the legislators who wrote and passed AB 474: to curb the over-prescribing of opioids in Nevada.

”I still think that the legislation is incredibly important in terms of saving lives, and we’ll continue to work with the medical community to get them comfortable with this,” Sandoval said. “But this is the law, and it’s not going to change, and we’re going to ensure that there’s compliance with it.”

“It is going to take some time, but I think over time everyone is going to see it’s in the best interest of the patient.”

Contact Kimber Laux at klaux@reviewjournal.com. Follow @lauxkimber on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Trumps Strength is also a Weakness - Video
One of Donald Trump’s greatest strengths — his ability to shape national narratives — is also a great weakness.
Tax the Rich Bus Tour makes a stop in Las Vegas - Video
The Tax the Rich Bus has stopped in Las Vegas as part of its summer tour. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ - Video
Assembly Woman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ to bring the community together to hear about the candidates up for election and for people to gather and have fun.
Democrat Virtual Caucus - Video
Elizabeth Warren visits Las Vegas
Senator Elizabeth Warren made a campaign stop at the East Las Vegas Community Center on Tuesday July 2, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Aaron Ford Speaks About Bill AB431
AB431 is a bill sponsored by Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson to restore the right to vote for formerly incarcerated individuals. Attorney General Aaron Ford spoke at the AM&E Church in North Las Vegas about the bill, on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Right Take: Biden's Racially Questionable Comments
Joe Biden has uttered racially charged statements for years. Now that he’s the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination, he may finally face prolonged scrutiny for them.
Christopher Rufo Discusses Homelessness In The USA - VIDEO
Christopher Rufo discusses homelessness in the United States and how politicians can work to improve conditions for those with drug addictions.
Clark County 2019 Election Results - Video
The 2019 Elections wrap up in Clark County including an upset in the Boulder City Mayor race.
Olivia Diaz talks about her win in Ward 3 - VIDEO
Las Vegas City Councilwoman-elect Olivia Diaz talks about her election win in Ward 3 and what lies ahead for her.
Greene discusses Read by 3 and Opportunity Scholarships - VIDEO
The Nevada Legislative Session is over and the results are mixed for Nevada students, according to Tom Greene, Senior regional legislative director, Excel in Ed in Action.
Bernie Sanders visits Las Vegas
Sen. Bernie Sanders made a stop at Roy W. Martin middle school on Thursday, during his campaign trail.
Kamala Harris campaigns in Las Vegas
Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris castigated President Donald Trump’s merit-based immigration plan, saying it was “short-sighted” and overlooked the cultural significance of family, during a campaign stop in Las Vegas. “We cannot allow people to start parsing and pointing fingers and creating hierarchies among immigrants,” Harris told Asian Pacific Islander leaders at a Chinatown restaurant, one of two appearances she made Thursday.
The Right Take New Education Funding Plan - VIDEO
On Monday, Senate Education Committee chair Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, released a new education funding formula. For years, many Democrat politicians have criticized the current education funding formula, called the Nevada Plan. They claim it’s old and outdated. Their biggest beef is that it doesn’t allocate more money for students who are English Language Learners or live in poverty. The theory is that it’s harder to educate those students and so they need additional services, which costs additional money.
Kamala Harris campaigns in Nevada
California Senator Kamala Harris meets with One APIA Nevada, a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies empowering Asian Pacific Islander Nevadans. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ben Carson talks housing (Audio only)
Ben Carson discusses housing with the Review-Journal editorial board on Thursday. (Audio only)
Ben Carson visits the RJ (Full Audio Only)
Ben Carson discusses housing with the Review-Journal editorial board on Thursday. (Audio only)
Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigns in Nevada
After campaigning at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 16 in Henderson, former Vice President Joe Biden spoke with the Review-Journal.
Student serenades Mayor Carolyn Goodman at swearing in
Students from the school she founded, The Meadows School, serenaded Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman during a swearing in ceremony for her third and final term. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Al Gore Speaks At UNLV About Climate Change - Video
Former Vice President of the United States Al Gore talks to an audience at UNLV about the effects of Climate change and how to switch to renewable sources of energy.
Forum on Wages and Working People Highlights - VIDEO
Presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro, and John Hickenlooper speak in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Nevada Politics Today Valerie Weber - VIDEO
Valerie Weber sits down with Victor Joecks to discuss her policies and why she is running for Ward 2 of the Las Vegas City Council.
Cory Booker speaks at UNLV
US Senator Cory Booker speaks at UNLV during a Young Democrats meet and greet on Thursday, April 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
THE LATEST