You must understand that with the great power of prescribing drugs to patients comes great responsibility. With that, the New York State Department of Health’s Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC) will keep a watchful eye on your prescribing habits. Follow along to find out what happens if you prescribe narcotics to your patients regularly and how one of the proficient New York physician defense lawyers at Walker Medical Law can help you through this.
What happens if I prescribe narcotics to my patients regularly?
Simply put, the more frequently you prescribe narcotics to your patients, the more likely you will run afoul with the OPMC. Specifically, the OPMC systematically keeps doctors that regularly prescribe narcotics on their radar. This is because they want to put a stop to the practice of treating pain with nothing but narcotics day after day, week after week, and year after year. That is, they want physicians to constantly look for other answers and have patients try alternative methods of treatment to deal with their pain.
The overall reasoning behind the OPMC’s strict guidelines is that the death rate of individuals who regularly take narcotics is, unfortunately, very high. With that in mind, the OPMC wants physicians to detect patients who may be addicted to narcotics and send them to specialists who can help them resolve the issue.
What should I do to avoid regularly prescribing narcotics to my patients?
Ultimately, the OPMC is going to punish physicians who are operating in this fashion. They may go as far as investigating you and asking you the following questions:
- Before you prescribed narcotics, did you have a complete and accurate history of the patient’s past narcotic usage?
- Before you prescribed narcotics, did you have the patient undergo radiology evaluations to look for the source of their pain?
- Before you prescribed narcotics, did you have the patient undergo physical therapy to improve their pain situation?
- Before you prescribed narcotics, did you have the patient undergo EMG testing to look for any nerve issues?
- Before you prescribed narcotics, did you ask for a surgeon’s opinion as to whether surgery might be the better answer to alleviate the patient’s pain?
What’s more, you will have to provide the OPMC with evidence that you have conducted constant research as to whether there was an alternative method of treatment for your patient to undergo. If you cannot do so, you may get a mark on your medical license, or even the revocation of your medical license entirely.
And so, to avoid any consequences from the OPMC, you should not simply re-order narcotics for your patients. Rather, you should take the above measures, like recommending them to tests, evaluations, second opinions, therapies, etc.