Policy Matters

Governor Signs Hospice Opioid Diversion Bill

Governor Kasich Signs HB366 Into Law

Columbus, Ohio
June 20, 2014 – Earlier this week Governor John Kasich signed HB 366 Hospice Opioid Diversion (Sprague-R) into law. In a continued effort to address Ohio’s opiate epidemic; drug overdoses caused by prescription opioids in Ohio account for more deaths than cocaine and heroin combined. In addition, prescription opioids have become the leading gateway drug to heroin. Today, 80% of heroin users started as a result of an addiction to prescription opioids. As such, Rep. Sprague brought the bill forward as part of a package of House bills to address any potential for opioid diversion. HB366 targets this problem by enhancing existing hospice program policies and raising the industry standard in order to prevent opiate diversion in at home hospice setting.

Jeff Lycan, President/CEO, Midwest Care Alliance, the state’s largest association representing hospice in Ohio, believes “this legislation will help prevent diversion of pain medications by instituting standards for all hospice providers that are considered best practice in the industry. These practices will identify risk factors and direct hospices to destroy medications that are no longer needed or used by the patient. These actions protect our patients, their families and the public. This is the critical element regarding this piece of legislation.”

The bill requires a licensed hospice care program that provides at home hospice services to implement policy with specific procedures in order to prevent the diversion of controlled substances containing opioids. A copy of the provider’s policy must be provided to the patient/family at the beginning of care.

Such procedures require a hospice program to request, in writing, the relinquishment of any drugs containing opioids that are included in a patient’s plan of care after a patient’s death or when no longer needed. The bill includes procedures for the disposal and documentation of such relinquished drugs. Following the request, any drugs not relinquished in accordance with the written policy must be reported to local law enforcement by the hospice program, and local law enforcement then must investigate and dispose of such controlled substances.

This bill solidifies and unifies current hospice program practices regarding controlled substances containing opioids.