Texas Prescription Monitoring Program — Mandatory use delayed until March 2020

June 21, 2019 Laura Hale Brockway

(See related article on new opioid prescribing requirements for Texas physicians.)

The requirement for Texas physicians to check the Texas Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) before prescribing opioids, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, or carisoprodol has been delayed until March 2020.

Beginning March 2020, physicians must check each patient’s prescription history within the PMP for evidence of doctor-shopping or drug diversion. The law does not apply to physicians prescribing for patients diagnosed with cancer or patients receiving hospice care.

The effective date of this requirement was initially September 1, 2019, but it was moved to March 2020 during the 2019 legislative session.

Other changes that were made to the Prescription Monitoring Program during the 2019 legislative session include: 

  • Funding was approved for the Texas State Board of Pharmacy (TSBP) to acquire software licenses for physicians to access the PMP through their EHR systems. This software places a link on a patient's EHR record so prescribers can access the PMP seamlessly.
  • House Bill 3284 created an advisory committee to advise the TSBP on the PMP.
  • Patients will now have access to their own data in the PMP.

This is a developing issue and changes could still be made between now and March 2020. We will keep you updated.


Best practices

Please consider these risk management best practices.

1. Register with the Texas Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP)
The Texas State Board of Pharmacy manages the PMP and automatically creates PMP accounts based on information it receives from the Texas Medical Board. However, prescribers must manually finalize their accounts.

With your finalized account, you can find out if a patient is receiving Schedule II, III, IV, and V controlled substances. You can also receive email notifications when the system finds evidence of suspicious activity.

2. At your discretion, delegate the task of checking the database to trusted staff.
Once you are registered, you can assign medical staff to assist in querying the PMP. It is important that your delegate register for his or her own account in the system. Physicians should never share PMP log-in information with their staff or delegate.

In addition, physicians and staff should only query their own prescribing history or patients with whom they have an established relationship. Querying individuals who are not your patients is a violation of HIPAA.

3. Document when you query the PMP
To show that you are in compliance with this new law, document in the patient’s chart that you have checked the PMP before prescribing opioids, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, carisoprodol. 

For more information

About the Author

Laura Hale Brockway is the Assistant Vice President of Marketing at TMLT. She can be reached at laura-brockway@tmlt.org.

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