Bill Enhances Use of Prescription Monitoring Program

[MMA News Now, May 15, 2014] A bill that calls for enhancing the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) in an effort to cut back on prescription opioid abuse moved through the Health and Human Services omnibus conference committee on May 13 and is set for consideration by both bodies.

The bill would have the PMP send out an alert to physicians when a patient is potentially doctor shopping for opioids. Given concerns about the potential privacy abuse of the new program, legislators set a "sunset" date for the program of Aug. 1, 2016, so that it will need to be reauthorized in the future. The Board of Pharmacy PMP advisory board (on which the MMA sits) will set the criteria by which prescribers will be alerted to potential abuses. That same advisory group is to report to the Legislature on criteria and the process used for reporting to prescribers by Jan. 5, 2016.

The law would also allow prescribers to view data on a patient for a period of 12 months. PMP staff would have access to data for 24 months for administering the program, operating needs, trend analysis and other studies.   

In addition, the legislation requires patient consent for access to PMP data in certain cases. Prescribers will only have access to patient data for non-prescription related medical treatment if the patient gives consent. Consent is also required for licensed pharmacists who are providing pharmaceutical care to a patient. The Health Professionals Service Program (HPSP) only has access to PMP records if a program enrollee consents. And, the HPSP is barred from giving that data to a licensing board except for limited exceptions.

The bill also removes a requirement that a prescriber's name be hidden on prescribing records unless the prescriber consents. Going forward, all prescriber's names will be included on individual records.

Plus, the Board of Pharmacy is tasked with studying the impact of the PMP on the level of doctor shopping, as well as the utility of possibly mandating the use of the program by prescribers and dispensers. This report to the Legislature is due in December 2016.

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