BEND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon health officials have delayed consideration of a controversial change under the Oregon Health Plan that could have forced many patients with chronic pain off opioids.

The Bulletin reports that while chronic-pain patients cheered the development as a sign the agency wanted to back off the proposal, early indications suggest the delay may still proceed.

The proposal was scheduled to be considered by the Health Evidence Review Commission Thursday. But Oregon Health Authority director Patrick Allen asked for more time to allow the agency to review a potential conflict of interest that arose with a consultant who had worked on the proposal.

The proposal under consideration would establish new coverage under the Oregon Health Plan for five chronic pain conditions that have not been covered in the past. That would allow patients with those conditions to receive opioid and non-opioid medications, as well as a range of non-pharmacological services.

But the proposed policy has been controversial because of initial language that would have forced patients with those conditions to be tapered off of opioids within a year.

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