Pennsylvania Senate advances legislation strengthening opioid prescription oversight

Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Mensch (R-24) is demonstrating support for a Senate-approved measure designed to strengthen opioid prescription oversight.

The Senate has forwarded Senate Bill 432 to the governor’s desk. The legislation allows Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) to access the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), which was created six years ag, to provide another layer of oversight.

The PDMP provides prescribers, dispensers, and the Attorney General more information about all filled prescriptions for controlled substances, enabling system healthcare providers to safely prescribe opioids, as well as identify patients who may need treatment or individuals who are illegally diverting prescriptions.

“Pennsylvania is grappling hard with the deadly opioid epidemic, and we’ve had some success,” Mensch said. “Expanding oversight to include Medicaid Managed Care Organizations provides another tool to prevent fraud and identify people in need of help.”

Lawmakers said the bill would save taxpayer dollars by identifying fraud and reducing the need for drug treatment and rehabilitation among Medicaid recipients while also requiring an MCO to notify the Attorney General and the Department of Human Services if a controlled substance is believed to be prescribed or dispensed fraudulently.

Last year the Pennsylvania State Senate passed a package of bills to address the state’s heroin and opioid epidemic by improving prescription drug monitoring, limiting opioid prescriptions, and targeting drug dealers.