Maine Medicine Weekly Update - 12/16/2019  (Plain Text Version)

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In this issue:
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
•  Walmart Will Delay Electronic Prescribing Mandate
•  U.S. CDC: At Least 1,300 Deaths from Flu This Season...So Far
•  Schmidt Institute Opioid Program Expands Statewide
•  Opioid Related Webinars Offer CME Credit
•  This Week's Public Health Updates from the AMA
•  Resources From The Alzheimer's Association
129th MAINE LEGISLATURE, SECOND REGULAR SESSION
•  MMA Legislative Calls Will Begin Tuesday, January 14th
•  Maine Legislature's List of Bill Titles for 2020 Session: Initial Approval List
UPCOMING EVENTS
•  Upcoming Specialty Society Meetings
•  MMA partners with the Maine Suicide Prevention Program and the Maine CDC/Sweetser to offer training for clinicians.
•  10th Annual Maine Patient Safety Academy - March 30, 2020
HEALTHCARE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
•  Orthopedic Surgeon Opportunity in Beautiful New England
•  Northern Light Sebasticook Valley Hospital seeks a BC/BE General Surgeon
•  Family Medicine Physician
•  Family Medicine Opportunity in Beautiful Western Maine
•  BC/BE Family Medicine or Internal Medicine Physician
VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
•  Opportunities at the VA for Volunteer Physicians
•  Volunteer Opportunity with Partners for World Health - Portland, ME

 

Walmart Will Delay Electronic Prescribing Mandate

Walmart had previously announced that it would require electronic prescribing for controlled substances (EPCS) for all controlled substances as of January 1, 2020, with no exceptions. The AMA and multiple medical societies opposed the mandate, urging a delay due to the likelihood for patient harm and how the Walmart policy did not comport with state or federal law. Now it has announced it will delay that mandate.

 

[from the American Medical Association]

Walmart had previously announced that it would require electronic prescribing for controlled substances (EPCS) for all controlled substances as of January 1, 2020, with no exceptions. The AMA and multiple medical societies opposed the mandate, urging a delay due to the likelihood for patient harm and how the Walmart policy did not comport with state or federal law.

We are pleased to report that Walmart said it will delay its EPCS mandate.

"We recognize not all provider networks and prescribers will have the technology and systems in place to accommodate this requirement, so we will continue to take written prescriptions so patients are not unintentionally negatively affected by this process," Walmart spokeswoman Marilee McInnis said in a statement to USA TODAY.

AMA President Patrice A. Harris, MD, MA, provided the following statement to USA Today:

“The AMA welcomes Walmart’s decision to delay implementation of an electronic prescribing mandate that would have resulted in harm to millions of Americans, including many in rural areas who rely on Walmart as the only pharmacy in reasonable distance. The policy, which the AMA urged Walmart to delay, was not developed in consultation with the nation’s physicians, who support electronic prescribing of controlled substances, but want to see it implemented in a manner that supports—rather than disrupts—patient care.”

"The AMA will continue to work with physicians, pharmacists, and other partners in health care to improve medication adherence, including removing barriers that impede physicians from electronically prescribing controlled substances."

The AMA will continue to monitor this development, and it encourages the help of all physicians in sharing this information with state medical and pharmacy boards, as appropriate, to ensure all pharmacies and other stakeholders comply with state law governing the prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances. Maine law requires opioids to be prescribed electronically, unless the prescriber has received a waiver from the Maine Prescription Drug Monitoring Program or fits into one of the few exceptions to the requirement.