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Pa. Prescribers’ Responsibilities When Querying PDMP Across State Lines

The Pennsylvania Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) offers a feature enabling users to search for patients across state lines. As of Nov. 28, 2017, the Pa. PDMP was sharing data with 16 other states and D.C.

PDMP Crosswalks

PAMED's member-only crosswalks compare Pennsylvania's PDMP requirements with those of bordering states.

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Ever since the Pa. PDMP began offering interstate data sharing, the Pennsylvania Medical Society's (PAMED) physician members have been asking for clarification on the responsibility that prescribers have when accessing out-of-state systems that do not allow delegates to access those systems. Although Pennsylvania does allow delegates – medical residents, prescribers without DEA numbers, and unlicensed health care employees, for example – to query the PDMP, some of the other states involved in data sharing have different rules regarding delegates.

In a recent letter to the Pa. Department of Health (DOH), PAMED asked whether prescribers are still meeting the requirements of the PDMP law if they delegate querying responsibilities even though some states will not permit certain delegates to access their PDMP systems.

The Pennsylvania Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Office sent PAMED a response in November 2017, with the following clarification:

The legislation [2014 Act 191] does not require prescribers to query across state lines. Interstate data sharing helps prescribers and pharmacists obtain a more complete picture of their patients' controlled substance prescription histories, regardless of which state they filled their prescription in.

The ability for delegates and certain licensed medical professionals to have access to another state's PDMP system is dependent on the other state's legislation, over which PA does not have any control or authority. The PA PDMP team has collaborated with other state PDMP administrators to ensure that users who have authority to access the PDMP across state lines have access to those respective state PDMP systems. A comprehensive chart that shows access by user role can be found here on the PDMP website.

The PDMP Office's response makes it clear that prescribers are considered compliant with PDMP requirements so long as prescribers access Pennsylvania's PDMP system as required by law, whether by the prescriber or through a delegate. While querying across state lines may not be required, it is recommended since it will give the prescriber a more thorough picture of a patient's controlled substance history. Access Pennsylvania's prescriber and pharmacist delegate assignment policy here.

The Pa. PDMP Program Office encourages questions from PDMP users. PAMED will continue to share member comments and questions about the PDMP with the state. You can forward your feedback to PAMED by contacting our Knowledge Center at 855-PAMED4U or KnowledgeCenter@pamedsoc.org.

Related Resources

For a detailed comparison of differences between the Pa. PDMP and those of neighboring states, check out PAMED's PDMP Crosswalks by State here.

PAMED also offers a variety of resources that can answer physician's questions about the PDMP, including:

Find out more at www.pamedsoc.org/PDMP.

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