WSMA Responds to Attorney General’s Announcement on Opioid Crisis

For Immediate Release
Nov. 21, 2017   Graham Short

Seattle, Wash. – Washington State Medical Association (WSMA) Executive Director Jennifer Hanscom issued the following statement today in response to Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson's announcement of opioid-related legislation he will take to the Legislature in January:

“The WSMA appreciates the intent of the Attorney General’s bill limiting pill counts, which is to reduce the amount of prescription opioids in our communities. The WSMA supported and helped to pass a bill earlier this year that seeks to achieve the same result. As one of its provisions, House Bill 1427 calls for all state licensing boards that regulate prescribers to implement new opioid prescribing rules. We are currently working with the state Department of Health on this rulemaking, in an open and transparent process involving the state, prescribing professions and the public. We encourage the Attorney General to join his fellow state agencies and us in this work currently in progress, rather than initiating an unnecessary, duplicative effort.

“Similarly, the WSMA appreciates the Attorney General's suggestion to increase usage of the state prescription monitoring program—improving the use of the PMP is also one of the goals of HB 1427. Physicians and other prescribing providers have indeed needed, and asked for, PMP prescribing data for over a decade to help inform their prescribing. But while the idea of a mandate sounds good on the surface, until the PMP can integrate with electronic health records to bring this data to physicians in an efficient manner—which is the case in states with similar mandates—then a mandate will only add to the administrative entanglement physicians currently face with the PMP and, most importantly, take time away from patient care.

“Together with the efforts established by HB 1427, the WSMA has also partnered with the governor's office, the state Health Care Authority and other stakeholders like the hospital association, to put forward community- and evidence-based approaches that address the opioid issue while ensuring patients have access to appropriate quality care. We look forward to having the Attorney General join us in this work.”

The WSMA and the state hospital association are leading a task force to address prescription drug opioid abuse, addiction and overdose in Washington state—learn more about the Joint Opioid Safe Practices Task Force

About the WSMA 

The Washington State Medical Association represents nearly 11,000 physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians and medical students in Washington state. The WSMA has advocated on behalf of the House of Medicine more than 125 years. Our vision is to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care.

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Published 11/21/2017