Does New Jersey allow medical assisting access to the state prescription drug monitoring program?
Medical assistants are recognized as “delegates” under the New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program (NJPMP). Because I have not written previously about these programs, I will explain in detail.
Note the following from the NJPMP frequently asked questions webpage:
The New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program (NJPMP) is an important component of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs’ (Division) effort to halt the abuse and diversion of prescription drugs.
The NJPMP … is a statewide database that collects prescription data on Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS), Human Growth Hormone (HGH) and gabapentin dispensed in outpatient settings in New Jersey, and by out-of-State pharmacies dispensing into New Jersey.
Access to the NJPMP is granted to prescribers and pharmacists who are licensed by the State of New Jersey and are in good standing with their respective licensing boards. Registered prescribers may delegate their authority to access the NJPMP to certain other healthcare professionals.
Patient information in the NJPMP is intended to help prescribers and pharmacists provide better-informed patient care. The information will help supplement patient evaluations, confirm patient drug histories, and document compliance with therapeutic regimens. When prescribers, delegates, or pharmacists identify a patient as potentially having an issue of concern regarding drug use, they are encouraged to help the patient locate assistance and take any other action the prescriber or pharmacist deems appropriate.
Medical assistants who (a) meet the education requirements of New Jersey law and (b) hold a current medical assisting credential from a certifying body approved by the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners are authorized to be appointed as “delegates” by practitioners.
A “practitioner” is defined as an individual “currently licensed, registered, or otherwise authorized by this State or another state to prescribe drugs in the course of professional practice,” according to the administrative rules governing the NJPMP. A practitioner may “designate a delegate or delegates for the purpose of accessing PMP [prescription monitoring program] information for a new or current patient, or a prescriber.”
The NJPMP requires a “mandatory look-up” in certain situations. Note the following excerpt from the administrative rules governing the NJPMP:
a) … [A] practitioner or the practitioner’s delegate shall access prescription monitoring information for a new or current patient consistent with the following:
1) The first time the practitioner prescribes a Schedule II controlled dangerous substance or any opioid to a new or current patient for acute or chronic pain; …
2) The first time the practitioner prescribes a benzodiazepine drug that is a Schedule III or Schedule IV controlled dangerous substance;
3) If the practitioner has a reasonable belief that the person may be seeking a controlled dangerous substance, in whole or in part, for any purpose other than the treatment of an existing medical condition, such as for purposes of misuse, abuse, or diversion, the first time the practitioner or other person prescribes a non-opioid drug other than a benzodiazepine drug that is a Schedule III or Schedule IV controlled dangerous substance;
4) Any time the practitioner prescribes a Schedule II controlled dangerous substance for acute or chronic pain to a patient receiving care or treatment in the emergency department of a general hospital;
5) On a quarterly basis during the period of time a current patient continues to receive a prescription for a Schedule II controlled dangerous substance or for an opioid drug for acute or chronic pain, or for a benzodiazepine that is a Schedule III or Schedule IV controlled dangerous substance.
Each provider must establish written processes to document in each patient’s record the information obtained from the prescription monitoring program. The disclosure of prescription monitoring program information is determined by state and federal law.