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January 3, 2017

MEMIC issues advisory for injured workers affected by Maine's new opioid law

Workers' compensation specialist The MEMIC Group is notifying injured workers in Maine who have been taking certain medications that they should contact their prescribing physician since they might be affected by Maine's new opioid law, LD 1646, which took effect on Jan. 1, 2017.

The bill, which was signed into law on April 19, 2016, makes a number of changes to laws governing the state's controlled substances prescription monitoring program.

Among other changes, it requires prescribers to check the state's controlled substances prescription monitoring program for records related to the person about to be prescribed benzodiazepine or an opioid and to continue doing so every 90 days for as long as the prescription is renewed. Prescribers who fail to do so will be subject to a $250 fine per incident.

It also requires that by Dec. 31, 2017 and every five years thereafter health care providers who are also prescribers must successfully complete a training course on opioid pain medication that has been approved by the Department of Health and Human Services in order to be authorized to prescribe opioid pain medications. It also sets limits on the amount of opioid pain medication that may be prescribed to a patient.

In its advisory, MEMIC noted that prescribing physicians may recommend treatment alternatives for those who will be required to lower or limit prescription dosages of pain medications.

"Many of the elements around prescription drug monitoring in the new law align with MEMIC's current best practices," MEMIC stated.

More information on the new law can be found on the website of the Maine Medical Association.

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