Today's Veterinary Business

DEC 2018

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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44 Today's Veterinary Business Community Community POLITICS & POLICY By Mark Cushing, JD Requirements for veterinarians who handle opioids and other controlled substances have generated a flurry of activity in legislatures and a bevy of articles in trade media. While state VMAs regularly update practitioners about what's expected and about state pharmacy board deadlines, I can help by laying out where things stand, or are heading, and look at solutions that could make the entire process more effective. 1 2 What's the Fuss? It's pretty simple. States and the federal government are under extreme pressure to fix or slow the epidemic of abuse and to treat abuse victims. A consensus is form- ing that every practitioner who handles opioids and controlled substances in human or veterinary medicine must be engaged and take some responsibility. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioner said as much in an August 2018 announcement. Veterinarians will find it harder each year to argue that their pre- scribing of controlled substances is so minimal, and their impact so insignificant in the national scheme of things, that no extra precautions or duties should be imposed. What New Duties Are Being Considered or Implemented? While 32 states exempt veterinar- ians from any compliance, many states impose some version of the following measures: Require some form of re- porting (electronic or otherwise) to pharmacy boards or health departments regarding opioid or controlled substance prescriptions. Reporting requirements range from same day to once a quarter. (Where: Alaska, Arkansas, Califor- nia, Connecticut, District of Colum- bia, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Mich- igan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oklaho- ma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia.) A small number of states are adopting the most controversial requirement: mandating that prac- titioners consult a state database regarding individual prescription histories with opioids or controlled substances before a prescription is issued to a pet owner. At this time, no state requiring pre-investiga- tion has obligated veterinarians to withhold a prescription if the pet owner appears to have a history of abuse. (Where: Connecticut, Colorado and Oklahoma.) Electronic prescriptions have been proposed in several states, like Arizona, but as of today I am unaware of any software that would allow veterinarians access to send e-Scripts to human pharma- cies. The infrastructure is simply not available. Thus, states like Arizona are providing veterinarians with a waiver of up to one year to figure out how best to comply. Duty bound National and state officials see veterinarians as part of the solution to the opioid crisis. The industry's role in prescribing and dispensing controlled substances is likely to come under greater scrutiny. Browse our online shelves and shop at JUMP START YOUR HOLIDAY SHOPPING For a limited time, you'll recieve a 15% discount on all purchases, including books, merchandise and more! Use code Holiday2018 anytime now through the end of the year to take advantage of these great deals.

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