Minnesota opioid prescriptions plummet; providers may soon be penalized for overprescribing

Opioid prescriptions in Minnesota have dropped significantly over the last few years, but the state still intends to implement penalties against certain physicians that overprescribe painkillers, the Minnesota Department of Human Services announced Jan 3. 

New opioid prescriptions for Minnesota residents benefiting from state programs have declined 33 percent since 2016. Opioid dosages above new state guidelines have also decreased, dropping by more than half.

Minnesota has typically reported lower opioid prescribing levels than other states amid the  epidemic, but state opioid-related overdose deaths still surged from 54 in 2000 to 422 in 2017, according to the Star Tribune.

In response, new state law has DHS send providers private reports each year regarding personal prescription rates. DHS also manages a quality improvement program for providers that continue to prescribe outside of community standards. Physicians with high prescribing rates run the risk of being removed from the Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare programs.

More articles on opioids:
Nearly 30 percent of US opioid-poisoning cases occur among children
Treating newborns exposed to opioids cost US hospitals $572M+ in 2016
Limiting opioids in ERs can leave some sickle cells patients in pain

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