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State lawmakers continue battling opioid crisis with prescription monitoring updates for 2018

By Christian Green
January 17, 2018
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Now that it’s mid-January, most state legislatures are back in session and legislation for prescription drug monitoring will be front and center in combating the opioid crisis.

As of this week, there are more than 40 monitoring and surveillance bills up for consideration in several states, some of which could lead to greater cooperation in the effort to combat opioid abuse nationwide. Currently, 42 states share Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) data through the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy’s (NABP) PMP InterConnect® network.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the proposed state legislation regarding PDMPs for 2018, as states continue to respond to the opioid epidemic.

Colorado: At present, there are six opioid-related regulation bills being considered in the Colorado General Assembly, one of which (Senate Bill 18-022) would make it compulsory for medical professionals to check the state’s PDMP database prior to writing prescription refills.  

Indiana: Four monitoring and surveillance bills are under consideration in Indiana, three of which are related to the state’s PDMP, INSPECT. The other, SB 139, proposes that county coroners investigate overdose deaths, as they relate to information available from the INSPECT program.

Maryland: Introduced Jan. 12, the lone prescription drug monitoring and surveillance bill drafted in Maryland proposes to revise the state’s PDMP. Rather than simply authorizing the PDMP to review prescription monitoring data and report possible misuse or abuse of prescription drugs to prescribers or dispensers, House Bill 88 requires Maryland’s PDMP to do so.

Michigan: Three bills tied to Michigan’s automated prescription system (MAPS) have been introduced in the state’s legislature. SB 47, 166 and 167 require prescribers to register with MAPS, obtain data from MAPS prior to subscribing or dispensing specific drugs and for prescribers to be subject to sanctions if they don’t follow through on the aforementioned requirements.

Mississippi: Like Michigan, Mississippi also has a bill (HB 131) that would require prescribers to check the state’s PDMP database before dispensing or prescribing drugs. The state’s second bill (HB 1020) assesses civil penalties to agents of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics who fail to report drug overdoses.

Nebraska: On Jan. 1, Nebraska became the first state to make it mandatory for pharmacists and pharmacies to report all dispensed prescriptions to its PDMP. This law builds on last year’s legislation, which required reporting of dispensed controlled substances.

New Hampshire: The lone monitoring and surveillance bill (HR 286) up for debate in New Hampshire mandates reporting of all suicide deaths of individuals who received services through the state’s department of health and human services or its subcontractors.

New Jersey: All four of New Jersey’s monitoring and surveillance bills deal with drug overdoses in some fashion — establishment of an overdose and near fatality review board (two bills), establishment of a clearinghouse for drug overdose information and uniform reporting and testing of drug overdose deaths.

New York: Three of New York’s nine bills are dedicated to establishing requirements and reporting on overdose deaths caused by opioids. Most of the other bills require physicians and medical professionals to keep tabs on patients by notifying prescribers that patients are being treated for a controlled substance overdose (two bills), to find out whether these patients have participated in services and to report their findings. Finally, two others would mandate that the state’s department of health include information about the administration of overdose agents on the prescription monitoring program registry.   

Oklahoma: A monitoring and surveillance bill (SB 937) would determine who has access to central repository information in accordance with the state’s Anti-Drug Diversion Act.

Vermont: A bill (S.225) would provide academic researchers with access to confidential data from the Vermont Prescription Monitoring System (VPMS). It would also require commercial health insurers to share costs associated with the provision of medication-assisted treatment by certain providers.

Virginia: Virginia legislators are set to consider 10 monitoring and surveillance bills, including three outlining prescriber requirements, four bills addressing controlled substance overdoses, two regarding reporting said overdoses and two that would establish overdose review teams.

Washington: Two bills under consideration would set legal parameters for sharing the state’s department of health prescription monitoring program data, and another two outlining the procedures for dispensing or prescribing controlled substances. The fifth bill would create guidelines for naturopaths when administering and prescribing legend drugs and controlled substances.

West Virginia: Introduced on Jan. 10, West Virginia’s sole monitoring and surveillance bill, SB 65, proposes that managed care organizations have access to controlled substances database information for their Medicaid plan enrollees.

Additional resources:

Christian Green, MGMA writer/editor

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