Brown’s Bill to Establish the Hospice and Home Health Prescription Medication Disposal Act Approved by House
HARRISBURG – Rep. Rosemary M. Brown’s (R-Monroe/Pike) legislation to authorize home health and hospice agencies to properly dispose of unused medications following a patient’s discharge or death, so long as permission is given by the patient or the patient’s family member, caregiver or health care representative. The House approved the bill on Monday.

“The intent of this legislation is to continue the fight to keep excessive drugs out of reach from people other than the patient and to prevent sales on the streets, which further fuels the drug epidemic,” Brown said. “I will continue to work to change policies that help curb the environment that feeds the current drug crisis.”

Brown’s legislation, House Bill 2152, would require a home health or hospice agency to establish a written policy setting forth procedures for accepting and disposing of unused prescription medications using the guidelines set forth by the Food and Drug Administration. At the time of admission, the hospice agency must furnish a copy of the written policy to each patient or the patient’s health care representative and designate an employee representative to discuss the procedures and requirements for surrendering unused prescription medications with the patient or the patient’s health care representative.

Disposal of unused medications must occur in the presence of a witness at the site where care is provided and must either take place during the final in-home visit by a nurse or within 48 hours of the death or discharge of the patient, whichever occurs first.

The nurse who accepts and disposes of an unused prescription medication would be required to document the name, quantity of each medication surrendered, the name of the person authorizing the surrender and the relationship of the person to the patient, the date and method of disposal, and the name of the person witnessing the disposal. Documentation would be required to be maintained by a home health or hospice agency for a period of five years.

In 2014, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) began encouraging hospice and homecare staff to help families destroy leftover medications, but the agency forbids those staff members from destroying the medications themselves unless permitted by state law. There is no statutory law in Pennsylvania to address the disposal of unused medications by home health and hospice agencies.

This is the second piece of legislation Brown has sponsored to address Pennsylvania’s ongoing opioid addiction crisis. She sponsored Act 122 of 2016 to mandate that hospital emergency departments and urgent care centers may not prescribe opioids in quantities that last no more than seven days.

Sen. Lisa Baker (R-20) is sponsoring Senate Bill 978, similar legislation to Brown’s, that also addresses proper methods of disposal following a patient’s death. Baker’s legislation was approved by the Senate and is currently awaiting consideration of the House Health Committee.

For more information about this legislation, or any state-related issue, contact Brown’s district office in East Stroudsburg located at 143 Seven Bridge Road, by calling 570-420-8301. Information can also be found on online at or

Representative Rosemary M. Brown
189th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Krisinda Corbin
717.705.2032 /

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