On November 15, 2016 Sara Lincoln, Tricia Derr and Kevin Pratt attended a Opioid Round Table session hosted by the NCMB. At the meeting, NCMB staff described the history and implementation of the Safe Opioid Prescribing Initiative (SOPI) to attorneys representing prescribers before the NCMB. Board staff encouraged open dialogue and welcomed questions.

SOPI utilizes data from the NC Department of Health and Human Services to trigger NCMB investigation of any prescriber who (a) has 2 or more patient deaths due to opioid overdose within a 12-month period or (b) falls within the top 1% of those prescribing 100 MMEs per patient per day (per quarter).

Since SOPI began:

  • 55 cases opened (.2% active licensees).
  • 20% of cases opened based on prescribing criteria.
  • 80% of cases opened involve two or more patient deaths.
  • 44% of investigations closed without disciplinary action.
  • 33% of investigations resulted in private action ( i.e. private letter of concern).

Primary care practitioners were the most common recipients of disciplinary action. A majority of those providers who were disciplined were treating chronic pain patients without the benefit of formal training and experience in the field of pain management.

If you are prescriber who manages pain – whether acute or chronic – here are a few takeaways from the Round Table Meeting:

  1. if you have not registered for the NCSCRS database, please do so.
  2. Don’t just register for the NCSCRS. Utilize it. It is okay to delegate data collection to an administrative employee. However, the prescriber remains responsible for reviewing the query, recording results and following up on any red flags.
  3. Consider signing up for the CMEs recommended by the NCMB and stay up to speed on best practices for opioid prescribing. Click HERE for a helpful link.
Share This