The Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) collects prescription data for Schedule II-IV drugs into a central database accessible to health care professionals. The PMP is maintained by the Department of Health Professions, and strict security and confidentiality measures are enforced. Authorized health care professionals may check the PMP to confirm treatment history and identify a patient that is "prescription shopping" in order to connect them to addiction recovery services.

The requirements to check the PMP for opioid prescriptions have changed, effective February 2017. For opioid prescriptions lasting more than 7 days or more than 14 days if issued after surgery or an invasive procedure, a PMP check will now be required. Practitioners may appoint delegates or alternates in their practice to query the PMP database on behalf of a supervising prescriber or pharmacist. PMP alternates are eligible to have their own accounts in the system.

Frequently Asked Questions
These FAQs are designed to be an at-a-glance reference for providers on the Virginia Prescription Monitoring Program. For additional information, please refer to Virginia PMP’s Web site or call MSV 800 | 746-6768 or Virginia’s PMP 804 | 367-4409.

Q:  What is the purpose of the PMP?
A:
 PMP is a secure online system that provides licensed healthcare practitioners with 24/7 access to the Schedule II through IV prescription history of patients receiving controlled substances. It is used to determine a patient’s treatment history, minimize the risk of duplicating prescriptions and eliminate potential illegal activity.

Q: Who is required to use the PMP? 
A:
Any prescriber licensed in the Commonwealth to treat human patients and authorized to issue a prescription for controlled substances. In addition, dispensers are required to report to the PMP. 

Q: How do I register to use the PMP?
A:
As of July 1, 2015 all prescribers licensed in the Commonwealth are now automatically registered with the PMP. 

Q: When do prescribers have to use the PMP? 
A:
 The requirements to check the PMP for opioid prescriptions have changed, effective February 2017. For opioid prescriptions lasting more than 7 days or more than 14 days if issued after surgery or an invasive procedure, a PMP check will now be required. Practitioners may appoint delegates or alternates in their practice to query the PMP database on behalf of a supervising prescriber or pharmacist. PMP alternates are eligible to have their own accounts in the system.

Q:  Are there any exceptions to using the PMP?  
A:
 There are five exceptions to the PMP querying requirement:

  1. Patients in hospice or palliative care;
  2. Prescriptions during inpatient hospital admissions or at discharge;
  3. Prescriptions to a patient in a nursing home or assisted living facility that uses a sole-source pharmacy;
  4. Situations where the Prescription Monitoring Program database is not operational; and
  5. Situations where a prescriber is unable to access the PMP database due to an emergency or disaster and documents such emergency or disaster in the patient’s medical record.

Q:   Who is required to report to the PMP?
A:  
Pharmacies, non-resident pharmacies, permitted physicians, and physicians holding a permit to sell controlled substances are required to report all dispensing of any Schedule II, III, and IV controlled substances to the PMP.

The program covers the entire state and requires all dispensers to report prescriptions in Schedules II, III, and IV within seven days. As of January 1, 2017 all dispensers will be required to report within 24 hours or the next business day.

Q:  How do I know what my login and password is to access the PMP?
A:
Please contact the Virginia PMP for assistance at 804 | 367-4409.

Q: Can anyone else check the PMP?
A:
 Yes.  As of 2016, individuals who have routine access to confidential patient and have signed a patient data confidentiality agreement may now serve as a delegate.
In addition, individuals who are employed or engaged at the same facility and under the direct supervision of the prescriber or dispenser are licensed, registered, or certified by a health regulatory board under the Department of Health Professions. All delegates must be registered with the PMP.  Sharing of username and passwords is not allowed.

Q:  How will delegates be enrolled in the PMP?
A:  
Delegates will need to register as an authorized delegate to receive information from the prescription monitoring program.  For more information, click here.

Q:  What if I need technical assistance?
A:
 If you need PMP technical assistance, you can contact the Virginia Department of Health Professions at Phone: 804-367-4409 | Fax: 804-527-4470 | Email: pmp@dhp.virginia.gov 

Q:  I’ve queried the PMP and have a patient report.  What can I do with this information?
A:  
A prescriber or dispenser may discuss the contents of the report with the patient, another health care provider treating the patient, a dispenser who has dispensed or will dispense medications to the patient.  The prescriber may also make a note in chart or comment on prescription record to document decision process.

Q:  Is there anything I can’t do with the report?
A:
 A prescriber or dispenser may not request a report for any type of employment purpose, may not use the report for any purpose other than the authorized uses set forth in the Prescription Monitoring Program and 54.1-2523 in particular.   If the PMP report is placed in the medical record, indicate restrictions on unauthorized disclosure (54.1- 2525 of the Code of Virginia).

Q:  Are there any “how-to” instructions for using the PMP?
A:
 The Virginia Prescription Monitoring Program has a variety of information available on their website.  To learn more, visit: https://www.dhp.virginia.gov/dhp_programs/pmp

Q:  Do I need to query the PMP if I am prescribing a benzodiazepine?
A:
 Prescribers are no longer required to check the PMP database when prescribing benzodiazepines, however it is encouraged.

Q:  What if I suspect my patient has opioid use disorder?
A:
 If you suspect that your patient has opioid use disorder, consult with an appropriate healthcare provider, or refer for evaulation for treatment.

For additional addiction treatment resources, please visit VaAware.com.

Q:  What if I suspect a patient of illegal activity?
A:
 Should drug diversion or criminal behavior be suspected as the result of information provided by PMP, a prescriber or pharmacist may contact law enforcement.  The Department of State Police a Diversion Alert Fax System (DAFS) which is designed to provide the pharmaceutical community with critical information needed to aid in the prevention of diversion activities. 

If a practitioner discovers a prescription pad stolen, alterations to his/her prescriptions and/or the illegal use of a name or DEA number in order to obtain false telephone prescriptions, the practitioner should contact the State Police, Drug Diversion Unit (DDU).  

Please call 804-674-2779 or 1-800-553-DOPE (3673). For more information, click here

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