The 99th Michigan Legislature ended the first year of a two-year cycle on December 13, 2017. From a practical standpoint, the two year cycle only means that introduced legislation carries over into the New Year and can be considered for passage in 2018. However, the MVMA successfully amended opioid legislation passed in 2017 and can now focus 2018 efforts on other legislative issues important to the veterinary profession. The article that follows describes the package of legislation passed to combat opioid addiction and the role the MVMA played in being part of the solution.
In an effort to halt what has become a national epidemic in recent years, the legislature took a first step in taking on the rise in the number of people addicted to opioid pain killers. Legislation signed by the Governor included requirements for physicians to check a patient’s medical history to ensure they are not getting excess medications, capping prescriptions for acute pain at seven days, parental consent for prescribing controlled opioid substances under certain circumstances, improved reporting requirements, and instruction to school students on opioid abuse prevention. While the MVMA was supportive in a comprehensive solution, we also were active in stopping additional veterinarian requirements and reporting that would not assist in solving opioid abuse.
In particular, the MVMA legislative team at Karoub Associates was successful after talking with the bill sponsor, committee chairs, and Legislative leadership in getting Senate Bill (SB) 166 amended to create a partial exemption for veterinarians. As introduced, SB 166 would require all licensed prescribers to obtain a report concerning a patient/client from the Department of Health and Human Services' electronic system for monitoring Schedule 2 through 5 controlled substances, before prescribing or dispensing a controlled substance. Under the amended version signed by the Governor, the requirements would not apply under any of the following circumstances:
- If the dispensing occurs in a hospital or freestanding surgical outpatient facility and the controlled substance is administered to the patient in that hospital or facility.
- If the dispensing occurs in a veterinary hospital or clinic and the controlled substance is administered to the patient in that hospital or clinic.
- If the controlled substance is prescribed by a licensed prescriber who is a veterinarian and the controlled substance will be dispensed by a pharmacist.
Please note that SB 166 does not go into effect until June 1, 2018.
Lastly, Governor Snyder will give his annual and final State of the State address on Tuesday, January 23rd. Expect him to use the speech as a summary of what the administration has accomplished during his term as Governor and how the forward momentum will continue. While he may outline a few legislative priorities, don’t expect the legislature to act on much with this being an election year.