Patients in Kentucky with long-term medical conditions that require controlled substances must submit to urine drug tests under a new state law designed to combat prescription drug abuse. Those tests are not always covered by insurance companies, the Associated Press reports.
Governor Steve Beshear acknowledged that the cost may be prohibitive for some patients, the AP notes. He said state officials are trying to come up with a solution. “We are working with the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure to review options, including exploring whether other tests (blood, hair, etc.) could be as effective,” he said. “We are also consulting with private insurance groups and managed care organizations about their policies regarding this standard of care, because some are covering the tests while others are not.”
The law requires that doctors obtain a urine sample from patients who are prescribed controlled substances for more than three months. If the results indicate the patient is likely to abuse or sell the medication, doctors cannot write a new prescription. Random drug tests are also required under the new law.
“We anticipated this. Now we’re starting to see third-party vendors denying payment for the tests, as we feared,” Cory Meadows, spokesman for the Kentucky Medical Association, told the AP. “It’s still early in the game, so concrete numbers are hard to come by at this point. But this certainly will be a significant issue.”
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