Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 3.37.20 PMOn April 20, 2016, the North Carolina Medical Board announced  a new Safe Opioid Prescibing Initiative “to address potentially unsafe opioid prescribing in an attempt to reduce patient harm from misuse and abuse of these medications.”

The letter that the Board sent to North Carolina medical providers is below.

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Dear North Carolina Medical Board Stakeholder,

The state of North Carolina is in the midst of a public health crisis related to deaths from prescription opioid overdose. It is generally recognized that most opioid medications implicated in unintentional overdose deaths were originally prescribed by a licensed medical professional. In an effort to address this crisis, the North Carolina General Assembly amended state law to authorize the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to release certain opioid prescribing information to the North Carolina Medical Board (NCMB) and other medical regulatory boards.*

NCMB began receiving prescribing information in late 2015 and is now in the process of implementing a new investigative program based on DHHS data. We are writing to provide you with general information on this initiative, which might impact physicians and physician assistants employed with, insured by or otherwise involved with your organization. Please share this information with those who may be impacted by this new program. We are a resource to answer questions on the programs and initiatives put in place to address this public health crisis.

The Board will contact prescribers who meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • The prescriber falls within the top one percent of those prescribing 100 milligrams of morphine equivalents (MME) per patient per day.
  • The prescriber falls within the top one percent of those prescribing 100 MMEs per patient per day in combination with any benzodiazepine and is within the top one percent of all controlled substance prescribers by volume.
  • The prescriber falls within the top one percent of those prescribing 100 MMEs per patient per day in combination with any benzodiazepine and is within the top one percent of all controlled substance prescribers by volume.
  • The prescriber has had two or more patient deaths in the preceding twelve months due to opioid poisoning.

The Board will determine the appropriateness of prescribing through standard methods, including review of patient records, independent expert medical reviews and written responses from the prescriber.

We recognize that prescribers identified through the criteria stated above may be practicing and prescribing in accordance with accepted standards of care. However, given the known risks of opioids and the rising incidence of unintentional overdose deaths, the Board has an obligation to verify the appropriateness of care and prescribing.

For more information, visit www.ncmedboard.org.

Thank you,
Pascal O. Udekwu
President, North Carolina Medical Board
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Article Source:  http://www.ncmedboard.org/resources-information/professional-resources/publications/forum-newsletter/notice/new-ncmb-program-addresses-opioid-crisis

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