Tri-Cities lawmaker wants change in pain med rules: “Too often they’re made to feel like criminals.”

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NASHVILLE (WJHL) – A Northeast Tennessee legislator is sponsoring a bill that would change the process for how some people get opioid prescriptions.

House Bill 2681 is sponsored by Rep. Timothy Hill (R-Blountville).  

Rep. Hill told News Channel 11 that the bill is in the process of being amended. He said that the bill is meant to help chronic pain patients and the elderly.

“The intent of the legislation is to provide relief for seniors and those on a long-term chronic pain regiment so they can save on co-pays and save time,” Hill said. “Too often, they’re made to feel like they’re criminals, and they’re not.”

Hill said the bill was written in response to concerns to constituents.

Hill said that currently, a patient prescribed pain medications which includes opioids must visit the doctor every 30 days for a review and urine screening.

Hill said the change would allow a new classification for physicians and patients. It would give patients prescribed opioids the ability to see a physician every 90 days, allowing them to save on co-pays, time and resources.

Hill said under the amended bill, the patient still would get a 30-day supply at a time. They would be required to go to a pharmacy to get the medication refilled.

Pain management clinics would be excluded under the legislation.

“It’s intended for individuals who have had a long-standing relationship with their physician,” Hill told News Channel 11.

The General Assembly has the bill listed as held, pending amendment.

A companion Senate bill, sponsored by Sen. Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains), has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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