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Howell Buchan & Strong - Florida Health Care License Attorneys

Joe Iennaco

Impact of Overprescribing Oxycodone on your Osteopathic Physician's License

September 1, 2022
Est read time: 2 minutes

Osteopathic Physicians who used Opioids to treat patient pain must understand what
inappropriate prescribing means. It involves, but is not limited to, wrongfully prescribing, under
prescribing
, overprescribing, or continuing to prescribe opioids when they are no longer needed. And any of these practices can result in discipline against your professional license.

How to Avoid Prescription Investigation as a Provider

Let’s take a look at what you as a provider can do to avoid being investigated for your prescriptions, and how to respond if you are investigated. First, we'll break down how the regulating board views your role.

Overview of Osteopathic Physicians and the Regulating Board
Osteopathic Physicians are governed by Chapter 459 of the Florida Statutes. Under Chapter 459,
the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine is authorized to regulate Osteopathic licenses. This says that an Osteopathic Physician is authorized to diagnose, treat, operate, and issue prescriptions “for any
human disease, pain, injury, deformity, or other physical or mental condition….”

Adhering to these specific prescribing methods as authorized can help you avoid investigation. Of course, Osteopathic Physicians can prescribe controlled substance medication only if they hold a valid Drug Enforcement Administration registration, so ensuring your registration is valid and up to date is a critical step.

How Over-prescribing Can Result in Discipline

As of 2020, opioid overdoses were among the leading causes of death in the United States according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. In an effort to combat opioid abuse, Florida has introduced legislation that restricts a physician’s authority to prescribe opioids. Since Oxycodone is a highly addictive Schedule II opioid and works by alternating the way the brain instructs the body to feel and respond to pain, it must be regulated.

A common allegation against Osteopathic Physicians is that oxycodone was prescribed without
adequate justification. Upon investigation, the Department of Health could issue an
Administrative Complaint, which the physician will have to defend against. A failure to respond
or to adequately defend against an administrative complaint could result in the revocation of
licensure.

Every doctor knows that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this holds equally
true for legal matters. Osteopathic physicians do well to approach every prescription and patient
interaction with one eye toward protecting themselves from any suggestion of wrongdoing.

When prescribing oxycodone, a physician must ensure that they document and keep adequate
records of the patient’s medical history. Evidence that supports justification for oxycodone prescriptions includes, but is not limited to MRIs, x-rays, and the patient’s medical history that illustrates the inadequacy of alternative methods for treating their condition. Essentially, a patient’s history must justify the prescription. If it does not, the prescribing physician is subject to discipline.

What To Do if You Receive a Complaint or Notice of Investigation

The Law Firm of Howell, Buchan and Strong specializes in defending against Administrative Complaints and appearances before the Board of Osteopathic Medicine. Our legal team provides a no-obligation, free consultation on your situation. Contact us if you've received a complaint or notice of investigation.

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