HARRISBURG – The Wolf Administration has launched a program to cover health care organizations’ cost to connect patient electronic health records to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). Funding is available through August of 2019.
“This integration makes the PDMP even easier for health care providers to use,” Wolf said. “Critical information about a patient’s opioid and benzodiazepine prescriptions will be accessible seamlessly from the patient’s electronic medical record.
“Through federal grants, we are able to cover the cost of IT integration so that health care organizations can participate.”
In September, the Department of Health secured $3.8 million in federal grants over the next three years for the integration of electronic health records and pharmacy management systems with the PDMP. Interested health care organizations can visit the department’s site to learn more, including how to apply.
“The PDMP is a vital early-warning tool to help health care providers identify patients who may be developing an opioid-use disorder,” Acting Secretary of Health and Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine said.
“Any health care provider in Pennsylvania that is legally authorized to prescribe, administer or dispense controlled substances is eligible for the program. This includes ambulatory care units, acute care facilities, emergency care units, physician practices, pharmacies, drug treatment facilities and others.”
The PDMP has also expanded interstate communication to see if patients have filled controlled substance prescriptions in Maine. Existing communication partnerships are shared with Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington D.C. Additionally, a one-way sharing connection has been established with Maryland, enabling their program users to search the PA PDMP.
The PDMP collects Schedule II-V controlled substances data and stores it in a secure database only available to health care professionals and others as authorized by law.
This system also assists prescribers in referring patients with the disease of addiction to appropriate treatment. More than 97,000 users are registered in the PDMP, performing 1.1 million searches each month.
Wolf and state agencies have been increasing efforts in the heroin and opioid epidemic fight in multiple additional areas, including numerous programs and initiatives:
- Working with the legislature to establish a new law limiting the number of opioids that can be prescribed to a minor and to individuals discharged from emergency rooms to seven days;
- Strengthening the PDMP through the legislative process so that doctors are required and able to check the system each time they prescribe opioids and benzodiazepines. To date, there have been more than 12 million patient searches made on the system;
- Forming new prescribing guidelines to help doctors who provide opioid prescriptions to their patients, including guidelines specific to orthopedics and sports medicine;
- Creating the warm handoff guideline to facilitate referrals from the emergency department to substance use treatment;
- Teaming with the legislature to establish education curriculum on safe prescribing for medical schools; and,
- Awarding four $1 million grants for medication-assisted treatment using a hub and spoke model for Pennsylvanians who are uninsured, under-insured or have private insurance.
Pennsylvania residents and or patients, licensed medical professionals and users of the PDMP system can request information by contacting the PDMP office at RA-DH-PDMP@pa.gov.