The Department of Health Professions oversees The Virginia Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), a program created to promote the appropriate use of controlled substances for legitimate medical purposes while deterring the misuse, abuse, and diversion of controlled substances. The PMP impacts healthcare providers who prescribe or dispense controlled substances.
Physicians who dispense controlled substances are required to report certain data to the PMP within seven days of dispensing. Physicians must report the following: the patient’s name, address, and date of birth; the substance, quantity, and date of dispensing; the prescriber’s and dispenser’s identifier number; and method of prescription payment. Physicians can also be required to report other non-clinical information designated by the Director or specified in regulations. There are a few circumstances where dispensing physicians are not required to report to the PMP. For example, physicians do not need to report the dispensing of manufacturers’ samples or dispensing in the course of a bona fide medical emergency.
The DOH now registers each prescribing physician with the PMP when he files an application for licensure or renews his license. A physician can also register for PMP access through the DOHP website. Physicians may then obtain electronic reports of a patient’s prescription history of controlled substances. Use of the PMP can help a prescriber prevent the illegal use of prescription drugs and “doctor shopping,” and physicians are encouraged to check the PMP. Recent legislation requires a physician to check the PMP in certain circumstances. A PMP-registered physician must check the PMP to determine what, if any, other covered substances are currently prescribed to a patient when initiating a new course of treatment that includes prescribing benzodiazepine or an opiate anticipated to last more than 90 consecutive days. Periodic checks after that time are encouraged.