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Medical Examining Board nearing final opioid guidelines, CME rules

The State of Wisconsin Medical Examining Board (MEB) moved closer to completing months-long work on two items aimed at combating the state’s opioid abuse epidemic: creating opioid prescribing guidelines that will be posted on the MEB’s website, and requiring a portion of physicians’ continuing medical education (CME) requirements to focus on those guidelines and other prescribing issues. The group held its monthly meeting in Madison on Wednesday.

Opioid prescribing guidelines
A law passed during the 2015-2016 state legislative session (2015 Act 269) specifically authorizes the MEB to issue best practice guidelines for prescribing controlled substances. It will likely utilize guidelines released earlier this year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the core of Wisconsin’s offering. A version of those guidelines, which was part of this month’s MEB meeting agenda, is posted here. The agenda also contained examples of prescribing guidelines from other states. (Click here to access the document, but note that it is nearly 600 pages.)

The MEB likely will finalize its approval of the guidelines, including an appendix with references to relevant research and information, at its July meeting.

CME requirement: Opioid prescribing
Dovetailing with the approval of best practice guidelines for prescribing controlled substances, the MEB also will require physicians who can prescribe such drugs to take subject-specific CME as part of the biennial 30-hour CME requirement. State law allows the MEB to alter CME requirements via administrative rule—a process that began in September 2015.

While final details still need MEB approval, it appears that the rule, beginning with the 2017-2019 CME period, will require physicians holding a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) license to take a minimum two credits of prescribing-centered CME. The first two credits will need to focus on the MEB’s prescribing guidelines, unless the physician has already taken that specific CME in the current reporting period (in which case the two credits can be fulfilled with a different prescribing-focused course). The MEB would require another two credits in the 2019-2021 reporting period in the more general subject area.

Rather than create a perpetual requirement, the MEB may limit the specific coursework to the next two reporting periods. However, if the opioid crisis has not abated, the MEB could extend the CME requirement into the future via another administrative rule.

E-mail Mark Grapentine, JD, in the Society’s Government and Legal Affairs Department with any questions.

Back to June 16, 2016 Medigram