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By: Shaun Daugherty
For those of you that have not been residing off planet these last few years, you know that there is a lot of coverage of the opioid “crisis” across the United States. Many states have taken steps to try and help monitor and control the controlled substances that are moving from prescription pad to pharmacy to patient. Georgia is no different.
Several years ago, the Georgia legislature passed the bill that established the Georgia Prescription Monitoring Program (PDMP). It is an electronic database that is used to track the prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances per patient. In 2017, the Legislature tweaked some of the requirements and added some deadlines for the same.
As of July 1, 2017, all Georgia retail pharmacies and dispensing prescribers were required to update the PDMP at least every 24 hours. At the time there was no requirement on the pharmacy or prescriber to obtain any information from the database or the patients who were receiving the medications, they were just required to update the information about the medications being put into circulation.
On January 1, 2018, each Georgia prescriber with a DEA number was required to be registered with the PDMP. If you have not done so, please do so immediately at https://georgia.pmpaware.net/login. Any new Georgia prescriber that obtains a DEA number must register with the PDMP within 30 days of obtaining said number. Between January 1 and May 31 of 2018, random testing of the PDMP occurred to assure that it was accessible 99.5% of the time. Data from this random testing has not yet been published.
Now the upcoming deadline:
Effective July 1, 2018, any person initially prescribing a schedule II opioid or any benzodiazepine shall seek a review of the patient’s PDMP information at the time of the initial prescription and then at least once every 90 days thereafter. However, this requirement does not apply if the: 1) prescription is for no more than 3 days/26 pills; 2) the patient is an inpatient in a hospital, LTCF, hospice, personal care home, etc. and uses the medicine on premises; 3) patient had out-patient surgery and the prescription is for no more than 10 days/40 pills; 4) patient is terminally ill and in an outpatient hospice; or 5) if the patient is being treated for cancer.
If you are not exempt, then the check of the PDMP must be documented in the patient’s records. There is not a requirement that the information be printed from the database and placed in the patient’s records, but that would seem to be easy proof if anyone came to ensure that the requirements were being met. All prescribers of opioids are required to provide patients information about the risks of using opioids and their proper disposal as well. A handout given to each patient with this required information would be easy to create, distribute and post in the office for patient education and to fulfil this requirement.
Any prescriber found violating these requirements will be held administratively liable to their professional licensing board. That is the same licensing board that has the power to sanction, limit, suspend or revoke your professional license.
If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Shaun Daugherty at firstname.lastname@example.org.