Minnesota flagging doctor shoppers to healthcare providers

October 20, 2015

Minnesota recently sent letters to more than 2,400 healthcare providers identifying patients who may be doctor shopping to obtain prescriptions for painkillers.

Minnesota recently sent letters to more than 2,400 healthcare providers identifying patients who may be doctor shopping to obtain prescriptions for painkillers.

According to the Star Tribune, the state Board of Pharmacy flagged approximately 194 patients who have received large quantities of controlled substances from multiple doctors and pharmacies.

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Those patients were identified through the state’s prescription drug monitoring program, which was created five years ago to help curb prescription drug abuse.

One patient had used 55 different prescribers. Two other patients made more than 130 trips to the emergency room in attempts to get prescriptions for controlled substances.

“We are talking about people that are using the healthcare system in ways that are unfathomable to most of us,” Jerry Kerber, inspector general of the state’s Department of Human Services, told the Star Tribune.

Barbara Carter, manager of the state’s prescription drug monitoring program, said 88% of those patients flagged as possible doctor shoppers dropped off the list once their prescribers were notified.

 

Once individuals are identified as possible doctor shoppers, they are only allowed to receive painkiller scripts from one primary doctor, one hospital, and dispensed through one pharmacy.

“It does not deny them services, but assures that they are getting the services they need only through that one front door,” Kerber said.