Ohio doctors would report opioid diagnosis codes under deal

COLUMBUS (AP) — Ohio doctors would report the specific diagnosis of every patient who receives a prescription painkiller under a tentative agreement reached Friday with the Kasich administration.

The 11th-hour compromise between the Republican governor’s office, the state medical board and associations representing doctors and hospitals followed months of wrangling over new opioid prescribing rules proposed in April in a state that leads the nation in opioid addiction and death.

A record 3,050 Ohioans died from drug overdoses in 2015, a figure expected to jump sharply once 2016 figures are tallied.

The compromise on prescription reporting was reached in time for a legislative rule-making panel’s scheduled vote Monday.

The disputed rule required prescribers to enter what’s known as an ICD-10 code into Ohio’s online reporting database for every controlled substance prescription. The administration argued the reporting mandate was critical to fighting Ohio’s top status for opioid abuse and death.

Under the compromise, hospitals and doctors’ offices would report codes for opioids right away, but they would have an additional nine months to begin reporting all other controlled substances.

Medical Board Director A.J. Groeber said collecting ICD-10 codes — in other words, knowing what conditions doctors are treating using potentially addictive opioids — is “the linchpin” to effective regulation and education.

Ohio State Medical Association spokesman Reggie Fields said doctors didn’t object to the goal, but to the method for accomplishing it, which they saw as unworkable.