On Tuesday morning, the House Appropriations Committee adopted a strike-all amendment that, once again, substantially revises the House position on addressing the fraudulent prescribing of controlled substances. As amended, H.B. 7095 by Rep. Rob Schenck contains a number of provisions:

  • Physicians, podiatrists, and dentists must register with their professional licensure board in order to prescribe controlled substances for pain management.
  • Registered practitioners must adhere to minimal standards of practice, which include evaluating the patient's medical history, conducting a physical examination, developing an individualized treatment plan, and performing a periodic review of the patient's treatment plan.
  • Registered practitioners also must maintain a log of all controlled substance prescriptions, which must be made available to law enforcement and to the Department of Health upon request.
  • Health care practitioners who have been found to over-prescribe or inappropriately prescribe controlled substances will have their licenses suspended for at least six months and pay a fine of at least $10,000 per incident.
  • The regulation of pain clinics is amended to expand the definition of such clinics, while an exception is created for clinics wholly owned and operated by board-certified anesthesiologists, physiatrists, neurologists, or other specialists who have completed a fellowship or are board certified in pain medicine. Pain clinics also must comply with various facility, infection control, health and safety, and quality assurance requirements. However, these regulations will have a short lifespan, in that the bill would repeal pain clinic regulations on January 1, 2016.

The House bill was reported favorably by a unanimous vote of the committee and will now be placed on the Second Reading Calendar and is available for consideration on the floor. Meanwhile, the Senate bill, S.B. 818 by Sen. Mike Fasano, was heard in its last committee of reference, Budget, on Thursday. The Senate bill differs substantially from the House bill — it would limit the advertising of the offering of controlled substances, tighten the regulations of pain clinics, and authorize the sharing of information in the controlled substance database with other states. The Senate bill was passed with little comment from committee members on a unanimous vote with support from, among other parties, the Florida Medical Association and the Florida Retail Federation. S.B. 818 will now be placed on the Second Reading Calendar.