In Letter, U.S. Attorney Asks 300 Pennsylvania Prescribers to Review Opioid Prescribing Patterns

Last Updated: Mar 7, 2019

stethoscope-prescription-pad-pillsThe U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania has sent letters to 300 Pennsylvania doctors, asking them to review their opioid prescribing patterns.

The letters from U.S. Attorney David J. Freed – which were dated March 1, 2019 – were sent to physicians whose opioid prescribing patterns for Medicare Part D appear to be significantly different from peers nationwide within their specialty based on these metrics:

  • Percentage of patients prescribed opioids by four or more providers
  • Average charges per patient for prescribed opioids
  • Percentage of patients prescribed opioids above 90 Morphine Equivalent Dose for three months; and
  • Average number of days prescribed per patient

View a copy of the letter.

U.S. Attorney Freed notes in his letter that his office does not suggest that the prescriptions aren’t medically appropriate. No determination has been made concerning whether the prescribers have violated the law.

The letter includes links to resources and education, including the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) September 2018 “Opioid Threat in Pennsylvania” report.

If you received one of these letters, you may wish to ensure that your DEA registration number has not been compromised. DEA registrants are required to notify the DEA and law enforcement of the theft or loss of controlled substances, including a stolen DEA registration number. Additional DEA information on reporting the theft or loss of controlled substances can be accessed here.

Medicare FFS Providers Notified about Reducing Opioid Misuse

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has also announced that it has, through its Medicare Administrative Contractors, mailed letters to all Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) providers about its efforts to reduce opioid misuse by Medicaid beneficiaries.

The letter includes guidance on co-prescribing naloxone, new Medicare Part D opioid policies that were implemented on Jan. 1, 2019, and safe and effective pain treatments. Read the letter.

Related Resources

The Pennsylvania Medical Society offers resources and education to help Pennsylvania physicians navigate the opioid abuse crisis – including CME and information for prescribers and dispensers on Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) querying requirements. You can find these resources at www.pamedsoc.org/opioidresources.

You can find the state’s voluntary opioid prescribing guidelines at www.pamedsoc.org/opioidguidelines


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