Doctor Investigations Double In Kentucky

The panel which regulates the medical profession in Kentucky has seen its case load double this year according to its president.  Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure President Preston Nunnelley updated the legislature’s Licensing and Occupations Committee Friday.
The update comes a year after the board was blasted by House Speaker Greg Stumbo and other lawmakers for failing to police its own when it comes to the over prescribing of prescription pills.  Drug overdoses now kill more Kentuckians than auto accidents and rogue doctors are a major part of the debate.
At Friday’s meeting committee chairman, Senator John Schickel, R-Union, asked Nunnelley a direct question.  "Do you feel quote unquote, under the gun about this problem?” said Schickel.  “Do you feel the urgency of this problem?"
Nunnelley said he did.  "Well there’s no question I’m under the gun every day with it,” said Nunnelley.  “We have been really committed over the past year or so to do everything we can."
According to Nunnelley the board has become more “pro active” and has been utiliizing “trend” reports on prescriptions rather than just follow up on complaints.  There are currently 121 open investigations, 65 of which are prescribing cases.  There licensure board has taken 66 disciplinary actions against physicians this year, 41 of which were prescribing cases.
“Out of those 41, approximately 20 of them lost their ability to practice medicine in the state of Kentucky, so that’s huge,” Nunnelley told lawmakers. 
He said the board is “on the right track” but some lawmakers remain skeptical that the board can police its own well enough to help curb the prescription drug abuse problem. 
"You know we’ve been having this conversation for a decade and we’ve made no progress, it’s gone from a scourge to an epidemic to a pandemic and we’re losing generations and it’s multi generational and it upsets me a great deal,” said Senator Robin Webb, D-Grayson.
Stumbo was not on the committee but listened to Friday’s testimony from the audience.  After the meeting he told ABC 36 News any progress is good  “It’s a big problem for Kentuckians, people are dying out there and we’re going to asking those questions until we get real answers, but I do think any progress is a step in the right direction,” Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg said.

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