A decision by Ohio Governor John Kasich to change the way doctors can bill Medicaid for a painkiller addition treatment may make it easier to obtain in the long run. The administration says the change could ultimately affect far more patients than a $1 million pilot program for ex-offenders vetoed by the governor last month.
Under the new change taking effect in October, pharmacies can bill Medicaid directly for Vivitrol and have the drug delivered to a doctor's office without an upfront payment.
Authorities have raided a doctor's two offices and home in southwest Ohio, seizing boxes of records in an investigation of possible prescription drug abuse.
The Dayton Daily News reports that 69-year-old Dr. Han M. Yang says authorities are "off-base" in their allegations. He says he has surrendered his license to practice medicine in Ohio and will give up his practice. He also says he will seek an attorney.
The state says drug dealers around Ohio are developing new sources for prescription painkillers by buying them from senior citizens, sometimes as the patients leave pharmacies.
The report by the Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring Network also blames the state's continuing rise of heroin use on addicts switching from prescription painkillers, which are more expensive and harder to obtain.
Orman Hall, director of the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services, says once people become addicted to painkillers it's almost inevitable they'll switch to heroin.