Nursing home group offers fixes for 'flawed' painkiller legislation

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Nursing home group offers fixes for 'flawed' painkiller legislation
Nursing home group offers fixes for 'flawed' painkiller legislation

The American Health Care Association says a recently introduced bill that purports to expedite the administration of painkillers to nursing home residents is “fundamentally flawed.”

AHCA argues that nurses should be designated “agents of prescribers” and be given the same power to function as nurses in physician's offices and hospitals do when ordering pain medications.

Earlier this month, AHCA took issue with Sen. Herb Kohl's (D-WI) Nursing Home Resident Pain Relief Act of 2011 (S. 1560), which eases regulations that claims to restrict nurses from ordering and administering controlled substances to residents based on a physician's verbal orders. Instead, Kohl's bill, as drafted, adds undue and excessive paperwork, according to David Gifford, M.D., AHCA's vice president for quality and regulatory affairs.

AHCA also argues in a statement released Wednesday that Kohl's legislation does not go far enough to prevent the diversion of controlled substances. More needs to done with efforts to prevent sales and theft of prescription medications, the group says.

“AHCA would welcome the opportunity to discuss this legislation in detail with Sen. Kohl and other Senators interested in helping us treat those patients who are suffering with pain,” Gifford said in a statement.

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