Sunday, August 12, 2012

Prescription Monitoring Program works

The Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) in Massachusetts is an effective tool for alerting doctors and other prescribers of Schedule II and III substances that a new patient has a history of using, perhaps abusing, pain medications. The recently passed bill, Senate 2125, requires registration in this program by all prescribers within three years; however, it is hoped that doctors, dentists, et al, will see the benefit of the PMP and start using it right away.

I received an email from a nurse this morning who relayed an anecdote to me about a situation her friend encountered in a doctor's office recently:

She was sitting in her doctor's office waiting to be called for her appointment when she observed a couple who both had appointments in the same office. My friend could not make out the conversation as the couple was whispering. Within minutes the wife was called in to see the doctor.  
Shortly after she came out and sat in the same seat next to her husband. Now my friend could hear the conversation and the husband asked: "What did the doctor say?" The wife replied, "Well, evidently there is some prescription monitoring program the doctor is connected to. He said he looked in it and saw I am on eleven different pain medications and wants me to come off of them." 
As my friend observed the couple's interaction, she noticed the wife seemed to take this with ease, but the husband became quickly distraught. He replied, "What? What do you mean monitoring program? What gives him the right to tell you to come off the meds?" My friend was called in next and didn't hear any more of that conversation. After she told me the story, she said "Lisa, I know now what the importance of the PMP is." 
This is why it is so important for people like you and the people working for us to create laws that are vital in our communities and how it is that people have been able to doctor shop and doctors, who are not registered in the PMP, are unaware of their patients' history.

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