August 1 Ushers in New Law Requiring PMP Check

by Billy Tarpley on August 1, 2017

August 1, 2017 – Today marks the effective date of Act 820 of 2017, which mandates that all Arkansas prescribers check the PMP (Arkansas Prescription Monitoring Program) website prior to prescribing Schedule II or III opioids. Prescribers received an e-mail in June from Denise Robertson of the PMP Monitoring Board outlining the new provisions of Act 820 of 2017. In answer to questions received from ASDA members, please note:
  • The new law charges the dental board with establishing prescribing limits. Whether the new rule will establish limits on the number of pills or the number of days remains to be seen.
  • At present, the PMP website does not monitor how often prescribers sign in to check it other than the list of doctors who have accounts. That could change if the Governor provides funds to update the site. That being said, ASDA encourages dentists to comply with the law as required.
  • There is no stated penalty for not checking the PMP site. There is a possibility that some liability may exist for a dentist who fails to verify whether a patient is an abuser, then prescribes opioids that ultimately lead to death or injury. Again, that remains to be seen.
  • Although several sources report that prescribers are safe in printing a patient’s prescription record from the PMP website and placing in the patient’s file, ASDA advises dentists to do so with care as it could constitute a HIPAA violation if the file is handled by unauthorized personnel. Unless stated otherwise in future regulations, a notation in the patients record should suffice that the PMP was checked prior to prescribing.
Meantime, the law requires that the dental board establish a new rule on prescription limits. The board has not yet begun this process. ASDA will continue to monitor this issue and report to the dental community as needed.

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