Legal Insights and Perspectives for the Healthcare Industry

Hospice officials identified both best practices and challenges that hospice employees face when disposing of controlled substances in a patient’s home.

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on April 14 detailing the challenges associated with the disposal of controlled substances in home hospice settings. As part of the October 2018 Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act (SUPPORT Act), the GAO was tasked with conducting a review of controlled substance disposal in the home hospice setting. The GAO conducted a very limited review based on discussions with seven hospices and 11 state hospice association officials.

It’s October 1, and that means this month is the deadline for the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to issue its final rules on special registration for telemedicine. The SUPPORT Act, signed into law on October 24, 2018, gave the DEA one year to promulgate regulations specifying the circumstances under which special registration may be obtained and the procedure for doing so. When finalized, special registration should give telehealth providers significantly more flexibility to prescribe controlled substances without first performing in-person exams.

US President Donald Trump signed the SUPPORT Act into law on October 24, 2018, in a culmination of a two-year bipartisan effort by lawmakers across multiple committees in both the House and Senate. Law360 published an article on October 25, 2018, by the Morgan Lewis healthcare team that takes a first look at the sweeping new opioid law.