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HB 21 Ushers in Mandate to Review the Drug Monitoring Database


Fraser Cobbe, Orange County Medical Society, Seminole County Medical Society

As our members prepare for the effective date of July 1, 2018 for HB 21, Controlled Substances, our organization will use this column to share some important information and analysis on key components of the bill that will impact almost every physician practicing in Central Florida. This week we will focus on the Prescription Drug Monitoring Database.

HB 21 will require that prior to writing a new prescription for any controlled substance listed in Schedule II through V, for a patient age 16 or older, that a physician, or his/her designee, review the patient's history in the E-FORCSE database. The only exception to this mandate is for non-opioid Schedule V Controlled Substances.

For instances where the database is not accessible due to technical or electrical failure, the physician should document in the medical record their unsuccessful attempt to access the site due to system failure.

As noted above, a physician is able to delegate this task to a designee registered with E-FORCSE. There are restrictions and penalties associated with the inappropriate use of the information in the database, so physicians will want to choose wisely and educate any potential employee they select as their designee for purposes of accessing the database.

Failure to check the database will be a reportable offense against a physician's license and will result in disciplinary action and penalties from the Board of Medicine. The Board of Medicine is currently finalizing the rules that will establish those actions and penalties for physician non-compliance. In our opinion, the most likely source of enforcement will be complaints filed against a physician for failure to check the database when a pharmacist attempts to dispense a new opioid prescription for a patient with multiple active prescriptions for opioids from other health care providers.

Given the need to prepare our members for implementation of this mandate, the Seminole County Medical Society is pleased to host a talk on HB 21 and the Prescription Drug Monitoring Database during our next SCMS Membership Meeting. That event is taking place May 15th at the Heathrow Country Club. One of our guest speakers that evening will be the Program Manager for E-FORCSE, Rebecca Poston, B.Pharm, MHL.

For more information on the SCMS meeting on May 15th click here.

For more information about the Prescription Drug Monitoring Database and how to enroll, please click here.

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