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Missouri drug monitoring program progressing

by Joe Gamm | July 9, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

Development of a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program in Missouri is advancing.

Lawmakers passed legislation last year to create a PDMP in the state.

At that time, Missouri became the last of the states to establish a PDMP program. The passage was met with support from voters who see it as a way to curb the high number of overdoses that have occurred in the state during the past decade.

However, opponents to the law say it infringes on people's privacy and sought to overturn it this past legislative session.

The Missouri law is intended to allow physicians, pharmacists and an oversight board to see prescription records for patients, with a goal of ending abusers from "doctor shopping" -- obtaining multiple prescriptions from multiple doctors.

When Gov. Mike Parson signed Senate Bill 63 on Aug. 28, he established the Joint Oversight Task Force for Prescription Drug Monitoring. Members include William Kane, representing the state dental board; Julie Miller, representing the nursing board; Douglas Lang and Christian Tadrus, representing the pharmacy board; and Naveed Razzaque and Mark Taormina, representing the healing arts board.

The task force elected Razzaque as its chair, according to Chris Moreland, public information officer for the state Office of Administration. The state hired Dean Linneman, as its executive director, whose responsibilities include working alongside the task force to create the program, and select a company to take in and dispense information about prescriptions.

The task force continues preparation of documents -- to be used in a competitive bidding process -- outlining expected operations involved in monitoring dispensation of Schedule II, III and IV controlled substances in Missouri, Moreland said.

A goal is to place the draft documents in the hands of purchasing staff within the next few weeks, he said.

"Implementation of the PDMP will begin once a vendor is selected," Moreland said. "The actual go-live date has yet to be determined, but will not occur until all dispensers/providers have been educated and trained on how to utilize the system."

The task force has reviewed numerous PDMPs from other communities in an attempt to build a state-of-the-art system for Missouri, he added.

"The end product will certainly resemble other states, but it's doubtful the Missouri PDMP will be identical to any one particular state. PDMPs are built and governed by the statutes and regulations within each state, so there are a variety of styles and approaches evidenced in each state's PDMP," he said.

Key components of the statewide PDMP, he continued, include: real-time submission of data; its integration capabilities; and the level of protection available for individual patients, prescribers and dispensers. The task force wishes to have the real-time submission in place from the beginning of the program. It also recognizes the importance of having the PDMP information at the fingertips of providers and dispensers, Moreland said.

"Therefore, it will be critical for the chosen vendor system to be compatible with the majority of electronic health record systems in use in the state," he said.

Another goal for the task force is to fully implement the system before the end of March 2023. That should allow Missouri to select a vendor through the bidding process and still leave time for promulgation of any necessary rules.

The state anticipates the rollout of an education and outreach plan to help smooth the launch of the PDMP.

Additionally, the task force has submitted an application for a U.S. Department of Justice Harold Rogers PDMP grant. Harold Rogers grants "enhance the capacity of regulatory and law enforcement agencies and public health officials to collect and analyze controlled substance prescription data and other scheduled chemical products through a centralized database administered by an authorized agency," according to the department's Bureau of Justice Assistance. "This program assists state, local and tribal efforts to break the cycle of substance abuse and misuse by reducing the demand for, use and illegal trafficking of controlled substances."

More information may be found at https://bja.ojp.gov/funding/opportunities/o-bja-2022-171290.

If awarded, the grant funding will be available in November, Moreland said.

Print Headline: Missouri drug monitoring program progressing

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