Sunday, January 23, 2011

Fla. Board of Medicine passes pain clinic rules

Regulations on Florida pain-management clinics that will impose an estimated $65 million in costs on the private sector passed the Florida Board of Medicine unanimously on Friday, despite Gov. Rick Scott's edict to ban rule-making this year.

Board members asked their staff to send letters to both the Legislature and the governor's Office of Fiscal Accountability and Regulatory Reform, explaining the need for immediate implementation of these rules, given the significant threat to public health and safety that some "pill mills" have created in the state.

The four rules adopted on Friday set out the requirements for standards of care, inspections,accreditation and training in pain-management practices.

Several members, who met by conference call, mentioned that they support Scott's call for a halt to rule-making to make sure that the process doesn't unduly impose a burden on small businesses and the public. In fact, the board voted unanimously to suspend rule-making other than the regulations on pain clinics.

The $65 million in estimated cost derives almost entirely from the requirement that clinics perform periodic urine screens. The estimate came from a study by the Center for Economic Forecasting and Analysis at Florida State University. The Department of Health commissioned the study after the Legislature required them for all pending rules with at least a $200,000 impact on business.

In its report, the Center noted that it was asked only to count the cost of the regulations for private companies and government agencies, not the offsetting savings that might accrue if the rules were imposed.

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