NAHC Sends Letter to DEA Asking for Clarification on its Disposal of Controlled Substances Program as it Pertains to Hospices
January 4, 2015 11:00 AM
NAHC recently sent a letter to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) regarding disposal of controlled substances, and seeking clarification on the impact its policy has on hospice programs. NAHC and its affiliated Hospice Association of America (HAA) continue to receive questions about the effective Disposal of Controlled Substances final rule. This letter to the DEA seeks to gain further clarification.
The letter states that:
“This letter requests information regarding the application of the Controlled Substances Disposal Act and implementing regulations as they pertain to the disposal of controlled substances by hospice personnel. Across the nation, thousands of hospice nurses and other hospice staff face the issues herein on a daily basis…
[T]he hospice role in its patient’s drug use is extensive. Most often the drug regimen is established by the interdisciplinary team at the hospice followed by a physician’s prescription for the particular drugs. The prescription may be filled by the in-house pharmacy of the hospice or an outside pharmacy. In some instances, the drugs are delivered to the patient’s home by the pharmacy, mailed to the home by a distributor, picked up directly at the pharmacy by the patient’s family, or delivered by a hospice caregiver. In the home, the drugs are often administered by hospice personnel. In other words, hospice personnel frequently handle (possess) the controlled substances.”
The letter then goes on to pose 10 specific questions where clarification is needed.
Last September, NAHC Report reported on the DEA’s final rule as it pertains to hospices.
The Disposal Act provides that, ‘‘if a person dies while lawfully in possession of a controlled substance for personal use, any person lawfully entitled to dispose of the decedent’s property may deliver the controlled substance to another person for the purpose of disposal under the same conditions as provided’’ for ultimate users (21 U.S.C. 822(g)(4)). What this means is that a member of the decedent’s household can give the medications to hospice staff for disposal if that staff person is legally authorized to receive it and dispose of it. Otherwise, home hospice and homecare personnel are not authorized to receive pharmaceutical controlled substances from ultimate users for the purpose of disposal.
NAHC and HAA believe that express authorization by the state for hospice and/or home care personnel to receive and dispose of a medication is required. Therefore, we are suggesting that hospice and home care providers review their policies regarding the handling of medications/disposal of medications and include the following in that policy”
To read the full letter, please click here.