We have just finished our fifth week of this historic legislative session. This week has been very busy with long committee hearings and long debates on the House Floor.
The only thing that was short this week was our hours of sleep! In the end legislators passed measures out of the House that are aimed at protecting Missourians.
HB 445 expands Amendment 1 Clean Missouri guidelines approved by Missouri’s voters in the November election. It prohibits lobbyist gifts to all local government officials, superintendents, school board members, members of governing bodies of charter schools and their staffs. It also applies a two-year waiting period before these officials can become lobbyists and adds a new exemption to the Sunshine Law to protect constituent information.
Passage of HB 445 is meant to strengthen the trust Missourians have in all their elected representatives and public figures. Every official, no matter what level, is an advocate for their district and should not be influenced by any future gains, thus HB 445 is about protecting Missouri citizens. The primary role of those of us who are public stewards is to represent our constituents and help them navigate state and local governments.
Sometimes our constituent’s share their most sensitive information with us in order to get the help they need. As public officials we have the responsibility to protect their privacy as we help them. There is a long list of reasons why Missourians contact their representatives and they should have an open avenue to communicate without fear of personal information or opinions being shared. HB 445 assures their privacy.
Prescription Drug Monitoring
HB 188 establishes the Narcotics Control Act Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, also known as PDMP. The Department of Health and Senior Services will establish a program for monitoring the prescribing and dispensing of all Schedule II, III, and IV controlled substances. The information sent is confidential and the department will maintain procedures to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of the information.
The information will be removed from the program after a maximum of three years.
There has been an increase in overdose deaths nationally from prescription medications where we have seen an increase from 7,885 in 2000 to 29,728 in 2015. A PDMP is not a silver bullet. It is not going to single-handedly reduce opioid overdose deaths, but any reduction in the opioid epidemic is a step in the right direction.
A statewide PDMP is just one tool in the toolbox for medical professionals and provides proven results of more reasonable prescribing practices that provide better patient safety and allows medical professionals to better understand their patient’s medication history. A PDMP allows providers to observe concerning trends so they can then intervene with corrective options for the patient.
Privacy is a concern for all of us. A statewide PDMP in Missouri will not allow anyone to be authorized to see medical data that in NOT already authorized under HIPAA laws and the system includes HIPAA compliant encryption.
President Trump’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis has recommended enhancing current PDMPs via grants to enable data review across state lines and integration into electronic health records.
Speaker Elijah Haahr created the Special Committee on Government Oversight. The new committee is charged with reviewing and monitoring policy implementation by the executive branch and its departments. We have a deep commitment to ensure the government is a good steward of taxpayers’ money and is transparent in it’s actions. This committee will thoroughly review and scrutinize our bureaucracy to ensure our government is operating in a way that is efficient and deserving of Missourians’ trust.
If you have questions regarding any state issues please give my office a call at 573-751-3455.
Dale Wright, a Republican, is the state representative for the 116th District.