New Law Requires VA to Participate in State PDMPs

AAFP Had Urged Agency to Adopt Rule to Fight Opioid Crisis

December 07, 2017 02:50 pm News Staff

A new law requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to participate in state prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), a practice that the AAFP had urged the agency to adopt on its own.

[Doctor examining bottle of pills at laptop]

When federal legislators asked the medical community for solutions to the opioid crisis, the AAFP referred them to an Academy position paper that explains how use of PDMPs could help increase patient safety and reduce opioid misuse or diversion.

Now the VA Prescription Data Accountability Act( requires Veterans Health Administration (VHA) health professionals with the authority to prescribe controlled substances to provide data to their state PDMPs. The law applies to VHA prescriptions for both veteran and nonveteran patients. It passed with support from both parties -- in recognition of the growing opioid crisis -- and was signed into law by President Donald Trump on Nov. 21.

The VA announced in 2013 that it would voluntarily submit information to state PDMPs, but the AAFP said the action was not enough.

"This voluntary PDMP disclosure has failed to result in VA PDMP reporting necessary information to prevent misuse and diversion of prescription drugs," the AAFP told the VA in a May 2016 letter.(3 page PDF)  

In the letter, the AAFP called on the VA to require all its clinicians who can prescribe to participate in their respective state PDMP and share data more effectively.

"We recognize the value of PDMPs and the interstate exchange of registry information, and we see PDMPs as vital to curbing opioid misuse and diversion," the letter stated. "It is critical that VA prescribers not be exempt from mandatory reporting to their state PDMP."

The AAFP sent the letter after the 2015 Congress of Delegates adopted a resolution directing the AAFP to ask the VA to participate in all state prescription drug monitoring programs.

Related AAFP News Coverage
AAFP Offers Support for Opioid Commission's Early Proposals
Letter Highlights Academy's Work to Treat Pain, Avoid Drug Misuse