Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Status and Guidance Discussed at MEB

February 17, 2017

Approximately 12,000 prescribers have registered to use the new Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) since the new version of the program was launched in mid-January according to a PDMP staff presentation to the Medical Examining Board (MEB) February 15. PDMP staff estimated that around 36,000 prescribers will be registered on the PDMP by April 1. On April 1, most prescribers will be required by state law to check the PDMP prior to prescribing reported controlled substances. 

The Board and PDMP staff also discussed the permissibility of delegates to fulfill a required check of the PDMP on behalf of a prescriber, identified barriers to physician registration with the PDMP, the status of additional functionality of the PDMP and how to comply with the new mandate.

PDMP Delegates
PDMP staff said the new PDMP system has a “delegate” function that allows a prescriber to link his or her account to a registered delegate that has also registered with the system. When that linked registered delegate checks the PDMP system for the prescriber’s patient, such check is recorded by the PDMP system as a check of the PDMP by the prescriber. However, PDMP staff said that some prescribers have been having difficulties with the delegate functionality. Staff recommended that prescribers and delegates work together to make sure the delegate has only one account and the prescriber links the exact same name and information identified in the delegate’s registered account to ensure a successful and non-duplicative link to the prescriber’s delegate account. 

PDMP Registration 
Various concerns regarding difficulties with the registration process were also discussed by the Board and staff. A key issue was ensuring that a prescriber enter exactly the same information that appears in the prescriber’s licensure information with the Department of Safety and Professional Services. Physicians have also had difficulties registering if the physician is missing information such as phone number or specialty from the licensure information held by the Department. In such cases, physicians will need to contact the Department to complete registration. 

Medical Director Access to PDMP
PDMP staff also provided an update on upcoming additional functionalities of the new PDMP system. Staff indicated that by April 1, prescribers will be able to see their own prior prescribing history as they had been able to do so under the prior system. Staff also said that by April 1 medical directors will have access to the PDMP to review prescribing reports of the physicians that he or she oversees. 

PDMP Integration with EHRs
Board members asked about the status of PDMP functionality to enable prescribers to check the PDMP through their electronic health record. Staff said they are working with the Department’s technology vendor WIN to have two EHR integration pilots running by April 1, but at this time those pilots and their timelines have not yet been finalized. Staff also indicated that several health care systems have indicated interest in working with the Department’s technology vendor to complete an EHR integration and that integration work would be completed by the vendor on a first-come first-serve basis.

Compliance Standards
The Board also discussed its compliance role after April 1 in determining whether various physician workflows for checking the PDMP prior to making a prescription are compliant with the upcoming mandate. In particular, the Board discussed how far in advance a physician could check the PDMP prior to prescribing to a patient. The Board indicated a reluctance to set a bright-line time requirement but instead believed that in some cases a check a day ahead of time would be reasonable while in other circumstances a longer timeline would be reasonable. The Board indicated they would discuss this issue in an upcoming Board newsletter.

Additional training materials and contact information are now available on the new PDMP website. To view that information, go to:

This story originally appeared in the February 17, 2017 edition of WHA Newsletter