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Policy calls for interoperable PDMPs

September 10, 2015
by Julie Miller, Editor in Chief
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This week, the House reauthorized the National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Reauthorization Act (NASPER), which provides SAMHSA grants to states to drive the use of prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs). Missouri is the only state that does not have an existing PDMP, but a program has been proposed there.

U.S. Representatives Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) and Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.) introduced the bill (H.R. 1725) in March. It authorizes $10 million annually from 2016 through 2020 and also adds a new requirement that states create PDMP interoperability with at least one bordering state. Data sharing is a key tactic for identifying patients who are “doctor shopping” for prescription medications across multiple states.

The Department of Health and Human Services must oversee such efforts. For example, one clause requires that states must report to the department whether or not they provide “automatic, real-time or daily information about a patient when a practitioner requests information about such patient.”

“Prescription drug overdose death has reached epidemic proportions, now killing more Americans than automobile accidents. Ten years ago, NASPER was signed into law to assist states in combating prescription drug abuse through the creation and implementation of prescription drug monitoring programs, which experts agree are one of the most promising tools to address this epidemic,” said Whitfield in a statement. “While there is no silver bullet to solve this problem, we do have an opportunity to make a difference by advancing this important legislation.” 

According to Whitfield, the NASPER reauthorization language would also encourage states to explore ways to incorporate access to their PDMPs into provider workflow systems, such as electronic health records and e-prescribing. Making prescriber access to PDMPs faster and more efficient will facilitate greater use of these systems.

NASPER originally became law in 2005, and the reauthorization bill will now forward to the Senate for consideration.

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