OSA Announces Registration for Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP)
On January 1, 2005, the Office of Substance Abuse is making available the data collected by the Prescription Monitoring Program. This data base collects all prescription transactions in the State for Schedule II, III, & IV drugs for all sources of payment. Any prescriber or dispenser in the State is allowed to access this information free of charge in order to provide better patient care.
In order to request reports from the data base all prescribers and dispensers need to register by browsing to http://www.ghsinc.com/pmppage.php, then clicking on "Prescription Monitoring Program Files" and printing out the form, filling it out, and faxing it in. They can also register online by browsing to http://www.ghsinc.com/pmppage.php, then clicking on "PMP Service Page" then "Submit Data."
GHS will then submit back to the prescriber or dispenser a User ID and Password which will be used on the request form for reports. The request form is available for download at http://www.ghsinc.com/pmppage.php, then clicking on "Prescription Monitoring Program Files." GHS' fax number is 207-629-6806.
Once you have received your User ID and Password please keep it in a secure location. You may use your ID and Password to request PMP information as many times as you would like. GHS will return the requested report within 24 hours of receiving your request except for weekends and holidays.
OSA hopes prescribers and dispensers will use this new tool to keep themselves better informed about their patients' prescription history in order to give Mainers the best possible care while being alert to the significant prescription drug misuse problem we face.
If you have any program or policy questions about the PMP, please contact the Project Coordinator, Chris Baumgartner, at 287-3363. If you have technical questions, please contact GHS at 622-7153. The 121st Maine Legislature created the PMP through L.D. 945, An Act to Facilitate Communication between Prescribers and Dispensers of Prescription Medication (P.L. 2003, Chapter 483) supported by the MMA.
The MMA has worked with the Maine Osteopathic Association and the OSA staff to develop a document to answer common privacy questions associated with the PMP. The following is a draft of such a document. If you have questions or comments about this draft, please contact Andrew MacLean, Vice President & General Counsel, at 622-3374 or email@example.com.
Privacy Issues and the PMP
Prescribers and pharmacists need to understand how the federal and state health information privacy laws, primarily the HIPAA privacy rule and Maine's confidentiality statute, affect their rights and obligations in the disclosure of information obtained from the PMP. You can feel comfortable that the routine disclosures you will face most on a daily basis - to patients, to other health care practitioners involved in the patient's care, to public and private payers, and to regulatory authorities - are permitted either by the PMP statute itself or by the privacy laws. The Maine Medical Association and the Maine Osteopathic Association staff have provided responses to the most common questions a prescriber or pharmacist is likely to face.
Q: Can I share the information in a PMP report with the patient who is the subject of the report?
A: Yes, the statute creating the PMP specifically permits the patient's access to the information in the PMP reports. Also, under the federal and state privacy laws generally, a patient would have access to this information when it becomes part of the medical record.
Q: Can I share the information in a PMP report with other health care practitioners involved in the patient's care, including pharmacists?
A: Yes, the statute creating the PMP specifically permits any prescriber and any dispenser involved in the patient's care to have access to the information in the PMP reports. Also, under the federal and state privacy laws generally, a health care practitioner has broad authority to disclose protected health information with all other practitioners, including pharmacists, involved in the patient's care, even without the patient's consent.
Q: Can I share the information in a PMP report with representatives of the MaineCare program?
A: Yes, MaineCare recipients must consent to MaineCare program staff having access to their protected health care information as a condition of participation in the program. Also, under the federal and state privacy laws generally, a health care practitioner has authority to disclose protected health information to public and private payers for payment purposes and for utilization review activities.
Q: Can I share the information in a PMP report with regulatory or law enforcement personnel?
A: Yes, the statute creating the PMP specifically permits the health care licensing boards, having a reasonable need for the information to support an investigation, to have access to PMP information. Health care practitioners may, but are not required to, disclose information about a patient's potential diversion or abuse of a prescription medication to law enforcement personnel as long as they are not treating the patient for substance abuse and they are judicious in the amount of information disclosed.
Q: Can I be held legally responsible for doing nothing at all with the PMP report information?
A: Yes, possibly. A health care practitioner would have an obligation to take action on information about a patient suggesting substance abuse or diversion coming from the PMP, just as the practitioner would if the information came from another source. As a clinician, the practitioner has a professional, ethical obligation to address the patient care aspects of this information. Also, a practitioner would have an administrative obligation to communicate with the MaineCare staff about the potential misuse of program resources as part of the practitioner's participation agreement with the program.
If you have more questions about your rights and obligations regarding the information in a PMP report, please contact Andrew MacLean, Vice President & General Counsel of the Maine Medical Association, at 207-622-3374 or firstname.lastname@example.org. [return to top]