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Ohio Governor Kasich Announces New Opiate Prescribing Limitations

On March 30, 2017, Ohio Governor John Kasich and the executive directors of Ohio’s health care licensing agencies announced new opiate prescribing standards for acute pain.  These regulatory limitations and standards follow voluntary guidelines and policies that have been established over the last several years.  Not satisfied with the pace that such guidelines and policies have been adopted by Ohio prescribers, Governor Kasich and Ohio regulatory agencies are now going to mandate adherence to new national standards created by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last spring.

While not yet fully drafted by Ohio’s health care licensing agencies, the new opiate prescribing limitations will incorporate the following:

  1. Adults may only be prescribed seven days of opiate medication for an acute pain condition;

  2. Minors may only be prescribed five days of opiate medication for an acute pain condition;

  3. Total Morphine Equivalent Dose (MED) of a prescription for acute pain may not exceed an average of 30 MED per day;

  4. Authorized health care providers may prescribe opiates in excess of the aforementioned limitations only if a specific reason is cited and documented in the patient’s medical record;

  5. Authorized health care providers will be required to use a diagnosis or procedure code on every controlled substance prescription, which will be entered into Ohio’s prescription monitoring program, also referred to as OARRS; and

  6. The new limitations will not apply to opiates prescribed for cancer, palliative care, end of life / hospice care or medication-assisted treatment for opiate or heroin addiction.

It is expected that the new rules will be drafted and passed by the State Medical Board, Board of Pharmacy, Board of Nursing and Dental Board relatively quickly.  In the interim, licensed prescribers should be aware of the CDC’s guidelines and promptly implement them into their practices.

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About this Author

Daniel S. Zinsmaster, Dinsmore Law Firm, Health Care Lawyer

Dan provides trusted counsel and advocacy to health care clients on a variety of matters, such as corporate compliance, provider credentialing, administrative proceedings and litigation.  He also advises clients on practice formation and acquisition, as well as contract review and preparation.  In recent years, Dan has helped health care companies and providers navigate through fraud and abuse investigations, antitrust reviews, and other white collar criminal matters.  He is a frequent author and lecturer on telehealth and telemedicine issues.


(614) 628-6949
Thomas Hess, health care industry attorney, Dinsmore Shohl, law firm

Annually appearing on The Best Lawyers in America list, as well as the Ohio Super Lawyers list, Tom has over 30 years of experience representing health care providers before state, federal and administrative courts across the country. He is the Practice Group Leader for the Government Relations and Health Law Practice Groups.

Leveraging extensive experience with a thorough understanding of the issues facing the health care industry, Tom takes a practical, yet aggressive approach to help clients meet their needs while also mitigating risk. Within the constantly-evolving industry, Tom guides clients through myriad challenges, including certificate of need, health care fraud and licensure investigation issues, as well as issues related to Medicare and Medicaid audits, overpayments, certifications and reimbursement. Additionally, he also has assisted clients with the acquisition and disposition of health care facilities and practices, demonstrating a knowledge of not only the industry’s distinctive operations, but also of traditional business transactions. Understanding that complex health care reform initiatives and an unstable economy have dramatically impacted the industry’s operations, Tom, a former Assistant Attorney General in Ohio, utilizes his familiarity with the regulatory agencies and their procedures to provide clients with the insight they need to confidently move forward.