TOA Asks Lawmakers to Fund the Prescription Monitoring Program Licenses

The Texas Orthopaedic Association (TOA) is encouraging Texas lawmakers rely on the Legislature’s supplemental funding package to fund the Texas State Board of Pharmacy’s request to acquire physician licenses to access the prescription monitoring program (PMP) database.

The September 1, 2019 mandate for physicians to check the PMP is seven months away, and it is critical to ensure that the licenses are ready for physicians to connect to the PMP through their electronic health records (EHR) systems before the mandate begins.

The PMP mandate served as the centerpiece of the 2017 Texas Legislature’s efforts to address opioid addiction through the practice of “doctor shopping,” which is the practice of individuals who attempt to inappropriately acquire prescription drugs by visiting multiple physicians.

The 2017 Texas Legislature recognized that few EHR systems were ready to connect to the PMP in 2017. As a result, the Legislature delayed the mandate for physicians to check the PMP for certain drugs until September 1, 2019. Texas’ PMP collects a patient’s controlled substances prescription drug history, which allows pharmacists and physicians to review a patient’s prescription drug history.

TOA supports a robust PMP in Texas and views it as a helpful clinical tool that could help limit misuse and diversion in some cases. The 2019 Texas Legislature can ensure the PMP’s success by creating the funding necessary for physicians to check the PMP in a seamless manner through their electronic health record (EHR) systems.

Several other states have dedicated appropriations to pay for a gateway license for each physician user. The license allows a physician to connect her EHR system to the state’s PMP in a seamless manner. TOA encourages the Legislature to appropriate $5.1 million in funding to the Texas State Board of Pharmacy for Statewide Integration Purchase & Enterprise NarxCare & Clinical Alerts.

In addition, TOA encourages the Texas Legislature to create a PMP advisory board that is made up of physicians, pharmacists, and EHR vendors to provide technical expertise to the TSBP. In order for the PMP to be an effective clinical tool, Texas must ensure that it is functioning properly and as designed. The advisory board would be tasked with identifying challenges, assuring data integrity/security, monitoring progress towards systemwide integration, defining best practices, and evaluating how the PMP is functioning in clinical settings.