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State budget includes language clarifying ePDMP requirement

Gov. Scott Walker signed into law last Thursday Wisconsin’s biennial budget, which passed more than two months after the typical July 1 deadline for a budget bill.

Included in the budget is language clarifying two important aspects of the requirement to review Wisconsin’s Enhanced Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (ePDMP). 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. The extent to which a prescriber’s staff may participate in this process has been a source of confusion for many since the law’s enactment.

The Society worked with health systems, the Wisconsin Hospital Association and Rep. John Nygren, author of the legislation that included this requirement, to resolve this confusion, resulting in the following amendment to the 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 subdivision does not apply after April 1, 2020.

The change clarifies that practitioners or their “agents” may perform the required review in a manner consistent with standard processes. It also provides flexibility in satisfying the requirement in a way that best serves patients while minimizing administrative burdens for physicians and health care teams.

The budget bill also removed confusing language implying that the Controlled Substances Board could refer a noncompliant prescriber to law enforcement. This was never intended, and the amendment makes clear that referral to law enforcement is only permitted where a criminal violation has occurred, and failure to check the ePDMP does not constitute a crime.

The budget also includes:

  • An additional $866 million for Medicaid “costs to continue.” The budget overall spends more than $20 billion on Medicaid over the biennium.
  • Doubling funding for the child psychiatry consultation program, from $500,000 to $1 million per year.
  • Changing the state’s birth defects registry program from patient “opt in” to patient “opt out,” which aligns Wisconsin with the majority of states and will foster better data collection and greater availability for federal funding related to birth defects.

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 September 28, 2017 Medigram