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What Pennsylvania Physicians Need to Know about the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

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New PDMP Laws for 2017

Pennsylvania physicians who are licensed, registered, or otherwise lawfully authorized to prescribe controlled substances, other drugs or devices in the course of professional practice or research in Pennsylvania are required to register in the state's prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP).

Physicians should take the following steps to understand their responsibilities with this new law:

Step 1

Register for the PDMP by visiting the Department of Health's PDMP website


Step 2

Become familiar with the law by reading PAMED's Quick Consult series:


Step 3

Earn CME by takings Session 4 and 5 of PAMED's Opioids CME series, which deepens your knowledge of the PDMP.


PAMED Advocacy and the PDMP

Several physicians have asked what PAMED did and is continuing to do to advocate on their behalf in regards to the state's PDMP.

Throughout the development of Pennsylvania's PDMP, PAMED urged policymakers to provide physicians with an effective tool to help identify patients at risk of developing an opioid addiction while working to preserve physicians' autonomy and clinical judgement.

When legislation was proposed that would have required physicians to also query the PDMP every time before prescribing a controlled substance, PAMED was at the table in ongoing discussions and was successful in getting the additional requirement limited to only benzodiazepines and opioids.

When the PDMP launched in August 2016, PAMED compiled physician questions and concerns on a regular basis and shared them with the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH).

PAMED has also sent follow up letters with questions and concerns to DOH.

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mfraser

Tuesday, May 10, 2016 7:17:43 PM

mfraser

Great overview

Tuesday, May 10, 2016 7:18:17 PM

wmurdoch

A few quick questions come to mind. How will the State know if we have checked the PDMP site each and every time we refill and Rx? What if we give a few months medications with the originating date but instructions do not fill before date? Do we only check on the originating date, or with each monthly Rx that will later be filled? and how will we know the exact date the refill is requested? Will we have a few days to check the PDMP, especially if we are doing a refill by phone in for a Benzo while out of the office? What does the state consider a Benzodiazepine- does this include hypnotics like Lunesta, Ambien, Sonata, Temazepam, etc.? What is the penalty for forgetting one time out of hundreds a year, for checking the PDMP site? Will the dispensing pharmacy not be able to dispense an Rx that we wrote if they do not have documentation that the PDMP was cleared by us first? Did any real full time practicing doctors participate in this new rule change, and if so, can we do a PDMP check on them?

Thursday, November 10, 2016 4:26:47 PM

nrahmanian

Who is going to pay for all the extra work. Checking every time as opposed to once a year or with the first prescription is bordering on harrassment or at least a large hassel factor since it has to be done monthly. This is one time PMS has failed us. Very disappointed.

Thursday, November 10, 2016 8:16:05 PM

msiget

wmurdoch, Thank you for your questions. I will try to answer as many as I can. 1. How will the state know? The Department of Health has the authority to audit the PDMP system. 2. When to check? You are required to check prior to issuing the prescription. 3. How much time do you have to check? You are required to check prior to issuing the prescription, regardless of whether it is by phone or in person. 4. What is a benzodiazepine? Act 124 has a definition here: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/CFDOCS/Legis/PN/Public/btCheck.cfm?txtType=PDF&sessYr=2015&sessInd=0&billBody=S&billTyp=B&billNbr=1202&pn=2199 5. Penalties: As with the original PDMP law, the state boards have the authority to take disciplinary action against a license. Ultimately, those decisions will be made by the state boards. 6. Dispensers: Dispensers are not required to verify that a prescriber has checked the PDMP system. Dispensers do have their own requirements for checking the system. 7. PDMP checks: There are limited people who are allowed to check whether a prescriber has accessed the system. Physicians are not permitted to check up on other physicians.

Monday, November 14, 2016 9:14:20 AM

msiget

To add to my comments, the Department of State may also access the PDMP system for investigatory purposes.

Monday, November 14, 2016 11:06:34 AM

wmurdoch

To msiget 1. How will the state know? The Department of Health has the authority to audit the PDMP system. OK makes sense 2. When to check? You are required to check prior to issuing the prescription. Great not very easy to do on the go via cell phone- I did check and it looks like I can make an attempt from my I phone, but again how cumbersome for every Rx!! 3. How much time do you have to check? You are required to check prior to issuing the prescription, regardless of whether it is by phone or in person. 4. What is a benzodiazepine? Act 124 has a definition here: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/CFDOCS/Legis/PN/Public/btCheck.cfm?txtType=PDF&sessYr=2015&sessInd=0&billBody=S&billTyp=B&billNbr=1202&pn=219 I looked this up and here is what the law states as per the useless link to the Law- "BENZODIAZEPINE." A PSYCHOACTIVE DRUG WHOSE CORE STRUCTURE IS THE FUSION OF A BENZENE RING AND A DIAZEPINE RING, AND WORKS ON THE CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM PRIMARILY ON THE GABA (A) RECEPTORS IN THE BRAIN Are you kidding me?? again see my prior post- how about sleep meds like restoril = temazepam, ambien = zolpidem, sonata = Zaleplon, lunesta = eszopiclone????? 9 5. Penalties: As with the original PDMP law, the state boards have the authority to take disciplinary action against a license. Ultimately, those decisions will be made by the state boards. Great, a State Board that has the power to take unlimited action against a provider without any requirement of due process. What could possibly go wrong here?? 6. Dispensers: Dispensers are not required to verify that a prescriber has checked the PDMP system. Dispensers do have their own requirements for checking the system. OK, at least my patients won't be furious if I tell them I am calling in an Rx, but am driving and cannot access the PDMP immediately prior to calling it in. The Rx will still get filled though I may lose my license in the process. 7. PDMP checks: There are limited people who are allowed to check whether a prescriber has accessed the system. Physicians are not permitted to check up on other physicians. This was a response to my comment; Did any real full time practicing doctors participate in this new rule change, and if so, can we do a PDMP check on them? Um, that was humor, not a real request, but now, maybe not??

Monday, November 14, 2016 4:55:09 PM

1549-child-abuse

I have staff that checks this for me, so it is going just fine. If I was doing this solo, wow! Very cumbersome. What about those electronically prescribed Rx's with Do Not Fill Before dates-usually Rx for 1 month for now then q 30 days for 2 additional Rx's to carry patient for 3 mos? Am I required to store those dates and check PDMP each month? By definition I am doing this type of prescribing for patients who have gained my trust. If I just check system when I write original Rx am I breaking the law? Must I tell patients I can no longer accomodate them? Maybe this has not been thought entirely through but we can work these bugs out, we simply must know where we might inadvertently get into trouble.

Friday, February 3, 2017 10:16:51 PM

jeffwirick

Thank you for your question. The Department of Health answered this question on its PDMP website. You can access the prescriber FAQ page at http://www.health.pa.gov/Your-Department-of-Health/Offices%20and%20Bureaus/PaPrescriptionDrugMonitoringProgram/Pages/GeneralInfo.aspx#prescribers. Q: If I issue three 30-day controlled substance prescriptions to cover a 90-day supply, do I need to query the PDMP system three times? A: No, you would only need to query the PDMP system once, at the time you issue the prescriptions to the patient.

Monday, February 6, 2017 11:33:39 AM

msiget

Thank you for your question. The Department of Health answered this question on its PDMP website. You can access the prescriber FAQ page at http://www.health.pa.gov/Your-Department-of-Health/Offices%20and%20Bureaus/PaPrescriptionDrugMonitoringProgram/Pages/GeneralInfo.aspx#prescribers. Q: If I issue three 30-day controlled substance prescriptions to cover a 90-day supply, do I need to query the PDMP system three times? A: No, you would only need to query the PDMP system once, at the time you issue the prescriptions to the patient.

Monday, February 6, 2017 11:33:54 AM

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