June 30, 2016

As of tomorrow, July 1, 2016, some of the new laws passed during this year’s Virginia General Assembly session will go in effect. Please remember to start following these laws.

Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP)
If you are prescribing a patient a course of opioids that will last longer than 14 days, you now must check the PMP before issuing the prescription, except in the case of these exceptions:

• Non-refillable prescriptions after a surgical or invasive procedure
• Hospice or palliative care
• In-patient treatment
• Patients in assisted living or nursing homes
• The PMP is non-operational
• A prescriber cannot access the PMP due to emergency or disaster

Additionally, you may now designate a member of your staff with routine access to private patient records to handle the checks for you.

The Board of Medicine has been tasked with developing guidelines defining “unusual” opioid prescribing patterns for the purposes of identifying prescribers who will be required to take opioid prescribing CME, but those guidelines have yet to be established.

Nurse Practitioners (NPs)
A NP who loses their team lead physician due to retirement, death, loss of license, or relocation can now report this development to the Boards of Nursing and Medicine and receive a 60 day grace period to continue practicing in accord with their previous practice agreement while they look for a new physician lead. After the initial 60 days, if the NP has not found a new team lead, they can report this to the same Boards and be granted an additional 60 day period. At the end of the second grace period, the NP will no longer be permitted to continue practicing until h/she locates a new physician lead.

Another related development is the creation of a pilot program run through the Center for Telehealth of the University of Virginia that will assist NPs in rural or medically underserved areas with the use of telemedicine to develop a patient care team with a physician. The Center for Telehealth, the Virginia Telehealth Network, and the Department of Health Professions will maintain a list of physicians interested in participating in this program. Currently, there are no specifics as to whether this is open to all physicians in Virginia, but if you are interested in learning more, please contact our policy team at healthpolicy@msv.org.  

If you have any questions, please contact the MSV Government Affairs Department at govtaffairs@msv.org.