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Ohio and Utah Take Action to Address Opioid Analgesic Prescribing

Optum Workers' Comp
| Apr 04, 2017

Regulatory and legislative activity continues as Ohio and Utah announce additional actions to help curb the misuse and abuse of opioid analgesics by limiting prescribing.


Ohio Governor, John Kasich, has announced another major step in Ohio’s fight against opioid addiction and related overdose deaths. The new initiative involves administrative rules being promulgated by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy, the Ohio Medical Board and Ohio’s nursing and dental boards. The rules will limit prescribing opioid analgesics to seven days for adults and five days for children who are suffering from acute pain. Governor Kasich promises strict enforcement of the new rules  which will be phased in over the next several months. For more information on the rules and statements by the Governor, please visit this page.   


Utah’s Governor Gary Herbert has signed HB 50 and HB 90, two bills targeting opioid analgesic prescribing. HB 50, sponsored by Representative (and physician) Ray Ward, would limit the prescribing of opioid analgesics for workers’ compensation, auto, and the general health systems, to seven days for acute conditions. The legislation carves out a couple of exceptions. If the opioid is being prescribed for pain related to surgery and the physician determines that a seven-day supply is not adequate, the physician may prescribe up to 30 days. Additionally, if the patient is suffering from a documented complex chronic condition the limitation does not apply. The new law also requires prescribers to check the prescription drug database (PDMP) prior to dispensing the first fill of an opioid analgesic exceeding three days or is not associated with a surgery.  The Senate sponsor of the bill was Senator Evan Vickers, a pharmacist. The legislation is effective May 9,2017. Full text of the bill can be found here.

HB 90, also sponsored by Representative Ray Ward, allows health plans and workers’ compensation insurers and self-insured employers to develop and implement policies for minimizing the risk of opioid overdose and addiction. Insurers and employers are required to submit a written explanation of their policy to the Utah Insurance Department each September 1. The Department will summarize the information and submit a report to the Legislative Health and Human Services Interim Committee. The bill is effective July 1,2017. Full text of the bill can be found here.

For questions or additional information, please contact Brian Allen at or at 801-661-2922.