Improve the health of the people of Wisconsin by supporting and strengthening physicians' ability to practice high-quality patient care in a changing environment.

Joint Finance adds language clarifying ePDMP to state budget

The state legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance (JCF) has unanimously proposed an amendment to the state budget clarifying prescribers’ ability to utilize agents in reviewing patient records in the Enhanced Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (ePDMP). The JCF took the action this afternoon at its most recent voting session on the 2017-2019 biennial state budget.

Effective April 1, Wisconsin-licensed physicians and other prescribers must review a patient’s records from the ePDMP before issuing a prescription order for most controlled substances. A recurring question regarding this requirement has been the extent to which a prescriber’s staff may participate in this process. Under the motion, the statutory requirement would be amended to reflect the broad delegatory powers physicians already hold under existing law:

961.385 (2) (cs) 1. Require a practitioner to review that a patient’s records under the program be reviewed before the practitioner issues a prescription order for the patient. The review required under this subdivision may be performed by the practitioner or by the practitioner’s agent in accordance with applicable standards of practice.

This change would reinforce physicians’ ability to work with members of their health care team to access and review a patient’s ePDMP records in the manner that best fits their practice. The Society worked with health systems, the Wisconsin Hospital Association and Rep. John Nygren, JCF co-chair and author of the legislation that included this requirement, to find a solution that ensures the ePDMP is utilized in a manner that provides needed flexibility and better reflects the dynamics of team-based care.

“This clarification is crucial to ensuring physicians have the necessary flexibility to obtain relevant information from the ePDMP with maximum efficiency,” said Society President Noel Deep, MD, FACP. “We applaud Rep. Nygren’s continued openness to solutions that focus on addressing the serious problem of controlled substance abuse while minimizing burdens on physicians and other health care professionals.”

For more information regarding the ePDMP requirement, the Society has prepared The Wisconsin ePDMP: Frequently Asked Questions. Because the manner in which agents may access, review and provide information from the ePDMP to physicians and other prescribers will vary by practice and setting, the Society recommends that practices consult their legal counsel to determine whether a given process complies with this new requirement.

The state budget process still has weeks—if not months—to go before becoming law. The Finance committee will continue to hold executive sessions on different parts of the budget in May and June, culminating in a final vote to send the amended bill to the legislature. Both the State Assembly and State Senate must then debate and vote on the bill before it goes to Governor Scott Walker for his signature and possible vetoes. The upcoming biennium begins on July 1, 2017, so the goal is to have the budget completed by that date. Unlike the federal government, state operations continue under a previous biennium’s budget if a new budget is not approved on time.

Contact Mark Grapentine, JD, in the Society’s Government and Legal Affairs Department or John Rather, JD, the Society’s general counsel, for more information.

Back to May 11, 2017 Medigram