On June 17th both houses of the New York State Legislature passed legislation to ensure that professionals who can prescribe controlled substances receive continuing medical education on pain and palliative care every three years. End of Life Choices New York first initiated this legislation several years ago.
The legislation, which passed as part of an omnibus opioid bill (A.10727 Linda B. Rosenthal, D-Manhattan) / (S.8139 Terrence Murphy, R-Carmel), was for several years carried by Rosenthal and Senate Health Committee Chairman Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City), most recently as A.355/S.4348.
“We are grateful to Senator Hannon and Assemblywoman Rosenthal for their leadership on this legislation. We know from numerous studies that too many patients suffer from inadequate pain management which is partly due to insufficient training of doctors in medical school and after. Post graduate training, as required here, should improve pain and palliative care for patients,” said EOLCNY Executive Director David Leven.
The bill requires that professionals licensed to prescribe controlled substances take a three-hour course covering pain management, palliative care and addiction, approved by the New York State Department of Health, every three years.
Assemblywoman Rosenthal, Chair of the Committee on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse and prime sponsor of the bill said: “After fighting for years to require mandatory training in pain and palliative care and addiction prevention, I am pleased that doctors will finally be required to take courses in responsible opioid prescribing. Irresponsible prescribing of opioids has helped to worsen the heroin and opioid addiction crisis that has torn families and communities apart.”
Senator Hannon said: “After having passed legislation (S. 4348A) in the Senate for several years, I am pleased that this legislation has been incorporated into the recently agreed upon Heroin Package and will finally become law. This bill will benefit the citizens of New York State and help curb the opioid epidemic as prescribers who are authorized to prescribe controlled substances receive specific and updated training in addiction, pain management and palliative care.”
Dr. Diane Meier, Director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care, based at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City, said: “This legislation is long overdue. Most doctors have not been trained adequately in pain management and palliative care. They need to be. This is an important step to ensure that many doctors will now receive essential training so that they will be better able to treat their patients.”
“End of Life Choices New York is committed to ensuring that New Yorkers have access to the best possible treatment to control pain and are provided palliative care as needed. That’s why we worked hard for passage of this legislation and will continue to fight to provide appropriate medical options for New Yorkers,” Leven said.