Prescription opioid abuse within the U.S. is hovering. Because the nation’s policymakers grapple with the way to tackle this nationwide emergency, nice progress has been made within the state of Maine, which this month marks the primary anniversary of a state legislation requiring the usage of digital prescribing of managed substances expertise.
Since Maine’s mandate went into impact in July 2017, making it solely the second state within the nation with such a legislation after New York, a big variety of physicians have responded to the brand new legislation, often called Chapter 488, which prohibits hand-written paper prescriptions for managed substances.
Maine now ranks No. three among the many states for leveraging EPCS to battle towards the opioid epidemic, and greater than half of Maine prescribers now are EPCS-enabled (51 %) in comparison with the nationwide common of 22 %, in accordance with the Surescripts Nationwide Progress Report.
“The opioid challenge has created challenges for these prescribing but it surely has additionally given them a simpler instrument to deal with their sufferers who’re coping with long-term continual ache points,” mentioned Maine Republican State Senator Andre Cushing III, co-chair of the state’s opioid job drive. “In lots of instances, it has opened discussions about the way to successfully deal with their underlying issues and maybe transfer away from continued use of opioids.”
It creates a greater security internet for individuals who have developed a big dependancy and have been in search of a number of technique of entry to opioids, Cushing added.
“Maine’s governor was dedicated to a multiple-pronged method to combating this battle towards misuse and the related dependence on prescribed drugs,” Cushing defined. “His administration, with the assistance of the medical affiliation and our division of HHS, crafted the plan after which labored by way of the implementation course of to coach suppliers and amend the legislation to deal with a few of the difficult points that arose.”
Previous to the legislation’s enactment, digital prescribing of opioids within the state was very restricted, down within the 1 to 2 % vary, mentioned Gordon Smith, government vp of the Maine Medical Affiliation.
“Enactment of the mandate dramatically elevated EPCS within the state,” Smith mentioned. “The 2 classes discovered: A) Whereas tough for prescribers, a authorized requirement will dramatically improve EPCS in a state, and, B) There will probably be some pushback, largely from small or solo prescribers who wouldn’t have entry to EHR techniques that may incorporate the change and thus must go to some expense to purchase software program or to fulfill the necessities of the legislation.”
Prescribers did have the flexibility to use for a waiver from the state and the state was fairly beneficiant in granting them, which significantly helped within the implementation, he added, explaining why virtually half of suppliers are nonetheless not in compliance.
“Whereas almost all pharmacies had been already in a position to settle for digital prescriptions for managed substances, not many prescribers had carried out the expertise to ship them.”
Ken Whittemore Jr., Surescripts
“The largest impediment going ahead is the big strain on main care from all instructions and the shortage of satisfactory reimbursement to fulfill the calls for of legal guidelines comparable to Chapter 488,” Smith mentioned. “The unfunded mandates might be dealt with by the bigger techniques however the small and solo practices – for instance, a psychiatrist training part-time – wrestle.”
In an ideal world, mandates comparable to Chapter 488 must be funded and paid for by way of an appropriation when enacted, he mentioned. With out funding and satisfactory coaching, one of these laws contributes to main care burnout, he added.
E-prescribing vendor Surescripts has helped many physicians in Maine conducting EPCS. The seller is an instance of different organizations becoming a member of state organizations to assist push the adoption of EPCS.
“Maine was one of many first states within the nation to enact a legislation that requires the usage of e-prescribing for all opioid prescriptions,” mentioned Ken Whittemore Jr., vp and regulatory affairs at Surescripts. “Whereas almost all pharmacies had been already in a position to settle for digital prescriptions for managed substances, not many prescribers had carried out the expertise to ship them.”
Surescripts, he mentioned, labored with various organizations throughout the state to get the phrase out that the mandate was coming and that the expertise was accessible. One instance of the way it educated prescribers is an internet useful resource it developed at GetEPCS.com. It consists of movies, Q&A and different assets designed to make it simpler for prescribers to stand up and working shortly.
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