ProPublica (01/24/2012) Ornstein, Charles; Weber, Tracy
Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) recently sent letters to 34 states in a followup to the letter he sent to all the states in 2010. The initial letter requested information on the top Medicaid prescribers of anti-anxiety, anti-psychotics, and painkillers. The follow-up letter was sent to states asking for reports on what actions had been taken in dealing with top prescribers, particularly whether they were still eligible to bill Medicaid, had been mentioned to the state's medical board for investigation, and if a system had been set up to track possible incidents of excessive prescribing. Another 12 states received letters as they never responded to Grassley's initial request for information, while four responded in 2010 with satisfactory information and so were not sent letters this year. Grassley has been a proponent of increased health care transparency, and argues that more needs to be done to handle high-prescribers in Medicaid, especially with relation to painkillers and mental health drugs.