Brown is calling for a Medicaid “lock-in” to be established, throughout the United States. If enacted, the program would allow states to establish best practices when it comes to people identified as a possible defrauding user. In some cases limiting the ability to use more than one doctor and/or pharmacy.
According to Brown, Ohio’s Medicaid program spent $820 million on prescription medicines.
According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which audited the Medicaid programs of the five largest states, found 65,000 cases in which Medicaid beneficiaries visited six or more doctors and up to 46 different pharmacies to acquire prescriptions. This same GAO report found about 1,800 prescriptions written for dead patients and 1,200 prescriptions "written" by dead physicians. The problem is particularly striking in Ohio, where from January to June 2010, there were more than 927,000 purchases of Oxycodone products — second only to Florida.
"While most prescription pain medicines are used as prescribed, some criminals are defrauding the Medicaid system by attempting to acquire multiple prescriptions and filling them at multiple pharmacies — undermining taxpayers and efforts to combat prescription drug abuse," Brown said. “When criminals defraud the Medicaid system to fuel prescription abuse, it’s a one-two punch to the stomach of Ohio taxpayers."
“Prescription drug abuse must be treated like the epidemic it is — and that means drawing a hard line against criminals, fraud and abuse. Ohio taxpayers should not be footing the bill for drug abuse and diversion, but when drug abusers or dealers use their Medicaid cards to visit multiple doctors or pharmacies, they’re feeding their addiction — or illegal drug business — on the taxpayer’s dime," Brown said.
To help address this issue Brown is calling for a medicaid lock-in program that would prevent, "drug abusers from acquiring excess prescription drugs — which they may abuse or illegally resell — by barring them from visiting multiple doctors and pharmacies," Brown said.
Brown sent a letter recently to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder urging him to establish two Ohio-based tactical diversion squads to help the state crack down on ‘pill mills’ and prescription drug-related crimes. Although there are 37 operational tactical diversion squads nationwide, none are based in Ohio.
At a March 2011 hearing of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, Brown urged Holder to work with Ohio’s law enforcement agencies to establish tactical diversion squads in the state.
WAYNE ALLEN may be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 208, or firstname.lastname@example.org.