February 20, Wisconsin Health News
More than 12,000 doctors and other prescribers have registered for the state's Enhanced Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, Department of Safety and Professional Services staff told the Medical Examining Board last week.
That's about a third of the total number of expected eventual participants, said Andrea Magermans, PDMP analyst. More than 5,000 delegate users, which act on behalf of prescribers, have signed up too, she told board members last Wednesday.
The registration process is different than under the older program, which has posed a challenge, she said.
"There have been some customer service type of issues," she said. "We've been addressing them as they've come up."
Magermans noted that getting used to the new format has posed a challenge for users as well. But once they're used to it, "it seems to be going well," she said. They've received positive feedback about the changes.
Effective April 1, those prescribing controlled substances will have to review a patient's records before writing a prescription. Prescribers will also have to update the PDMP by end of the next business day after dispensing a controlled substance in most cases.
Magermans said they hope to create a new category in the PDMP for medical directors by April 1, which will allow those overseeing prescribers to review their prescribing methods. By the start of April, DSPS also plans to add a component to the program so prescribers can review their own prescribing history.
DSPS is also in talks with health systems, including Aurora Health Care, Gundersen Health System, Marshfield Clinic Health System, ProHealthcare and UW Health, about pilot projects allowing health systems to integrate their electronic health records with the ePDMP, she said.
At least one pilot organization will be working on it prior to April 1, but Magermans didn't know how far they would be in the process.
Gov. Scott Walker's 2017-'19 state budget, released earlier this month, recommends $1 million to fund five positions "for the continued improvement" of the PDMP. Dr. Tim Westlake, vice chair of the Medical Examining Board, said the new positions should help with the rollout.
But he said that a concern they should have is whether the board has the resources to prosecute the cases, in case there's a spike.
"We want to make sure we have enough investigative resources to be able to prosecute the cases," he said. "If we get an extra 20, 30 or 50 opioid prescribing cases that can bog the whole system down."