Saturday, October 31, 2009

The DEA and elderly patients in nursing homes: Government living down to my expectations

You know the Drug Enforcement Administration has for years interfered in the ability of patients in chronic pain to access medical marijuan, but did you know that our Drug Gestapo also interferes in the delivery of prescription pain medication to your elderly relatives in nursing homes?

WaPo:

Heightened efforts by the Drug Enforcement Administration to crack down on narcotics abuse are producing a troubling side effect by denying some hospice and elderly patients needed pain medication, according to two Senate Democrats and a coalition of pharmacists and geriatric experts....

The DEA has sought to prevent drug theft and abuse by staff members in nursing homes, requiring signatures from doctors and an extra layer of approvals when certain pain drugs are ordered for sick patients.

The law, however, "fails to recognize how prescribing practitioners and the nurses who work for long-term care facilities and hospice programs actually order prescription medications," Kohl and Whitehouse write. They conclude that delays can lead to "adverse health outcomes and unnecessary rehospitalizations, not to mention needless suffering."

Most nursing homes do not have pharmacies or doctors on site, adding to delays for patients who fall ill late at night or in transition from a hospital.


Yeah, I'm glad we spend bazillions of dollars on a Federal agency to prevent the victimless crime of providing Percosett to senior citizens in completely controlled residential medical environments.

The idea that an occasional nurse might steal a bottle of pain meds is obviously far more important than relieving the pain of tens of thousands of old people.

1 comment:

Jabbar Fazeli, MD said...

Nursing home healthcare providers are fighting back with a petition protesting heavy handed government rules. More than 300 professionals signed our petition in the first two weeks since it's publication.
Link: http://www.gopetition.com/online/32305.html
Many of us feel that if the government is resisting a quick fix to a big roblem such as this, how would they do when the government healthcare programs get even bigger?
Jabbar Fazeli, MD
Maine Medical Directprs Association.