Do You Have to Check the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP)?

There’s a new online JAMA article entitled Mandatory Use of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs in which the authors state the following: “22 of the 49 states with PDMPs now legally mandate prescribers to query the system before writing for controlled substances with recognized potential for abuse or dependence.”

To me, that statement seemed too broad to be true, as I’m only aware of one state – New York – that mandates checking the PMP prior to prescribing all controlled substances. Upon checking the authors’ source for this statistic, the 21 states other than New York do not actually have a blanket mandate, as could be inferred from the authors’ statement. Rather, these states have certain circumstances which require the PMP review. Such specific circumstances include:

– Prescribing for chronic pain
– Prescribing in an opioid treatment program
– When the prescriber has a reasonable belief that the patient is seeking controlled substances for any reason other than treatment.

Having researched this clarification, I encourage you to do the following:

– Check to see under what circumstances, if any, you are required to check your state’s PMP prior to prescribing. Here is a source for you to check.

– If you are not already familiar with your state’s PMP, get familiar with it. You can access your state’s profile here.

– Consider making it part of your practice to access your state’s PMP prior to prescribing controlled substances, even if you are not technically required to do so. I realize that PMPs have limitations – it can be time consuming to check them, entries may be inaccurate, etc. But they also can be a great source of information that help to you prescribe appropriately and safely. And remember, ensuring patient safety decreases your professional liability risk.

Review the JAMA article.

Donna Vanderpool, MBA, JD – Vice PresidentAs Vice President of Risk Management, Ms. Vanderpool is responsible for the development and implementation of PRMS’s risk management services for The Psychiatrists’ Program. Ms. Vanderpool has developed expertise in the areas of HIPAA and forensic practice, and has consulted, written and spoken nationally on these and other healthcare law and risk management topics. She most recently wrote a chapter concerning the risks of harm to forensic experts for Robert L. Sadoff, MD’s book Ethical Issues in Forensic Psychiatry: Minimizing Harm, (Feb. 2011/Wiley). Ms. Vanderpool received her undergraduate degree from James Madison University, and her MBA and JD from George Mason University. Prior to joining PRMS in 2000, Ms. Vanderpool practiced criminal defense law, taught business and legal courses as an adjunct faculty member at a community college and spent eight years managing a general surgical practice in Virginia.

This blog has also been cross-posted on LinkedIn.