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VOL. 127 | NO. 20 | Tuesday, January 31, 2012

TennCare Pain Pill Prescrips Up 48 Pct.

By The Associated Press

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NASHVILLE (AP) – The number of narcotics prescriptions dispensed through the TennCare program has increased by 48 percent over the last four years despite efforts to end abuse.

Those efforts include a program called lock-ins, which forces a patient to fill prescriptions at a specific pharmacy.

The state’s Medicaid program also caps the number of pills that can be dispensed during each doctor’s visit and requires patients to use 85 percent of a prescription before they can get a refill.

State Sen. Ken Yager sponsored legislation last year requiring pain clinics to register with the state, have a doctor present at least 20 percent of the time and not accept cash payments.

In 2011, TennCare spent $49 million on narcotics, up from $33 million in 2007.

So far, Tennessee has been reluctant to disclose the names of doctors who overprescribe pain pills.

TennCare identifies the top 100 prescribers, but the only action it takes is to notify the doctors they are on the list.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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