Many patients don’t realize that a physician’s ability to service the community can be suspended or retracted entirely by the DEA for their patient’s misuse or diversion of drugs.
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Why is this an issue for the everyday American who never intends to overdose or abuse their prescription dosage?
The DEA is implementing stricter and stricter regulations on physicians and their ability to provide prescriptions. They are also enforcing legal penalties for abuse of prescription drugs on the doctor who prescribed them as well as the patient who actually broke “regulation”.
For example, if a patient went to a second doctor in addition to their primary one to gain a second prescription, the DEA now uses the Prescription Monitoring Program to enforce the legal repercussions against the doctors who prescribed a medication for their patient in addition to the person who committed the crime.
(*) The DEA’s agenda is not medical. It is political. (*)
They are expecting doctors to be responsible for their patient’s actions outside of the office.
- Why is it the doctor’s fault if a patient were to overdose on a medication?
- Why should the doctor to go prison or lose their medical license if their patient obtained duplicate medications from another physician?
They shouldn’t be. They’re not cops. They’re there to provide the best health care possible. They can’t do this if the DEA puts so many barriers in their way that they’re afraid to write up a legitimate prescription that could save a life, prolong a life, or enrich one.
The DEA is the enforcing arm of this agenda, the “messenger”.
The Department of Health and Human Services (through the Food and Drug Administration) has the responsibility of making medical recommendations on drug related issues to the Secretary of Health based on scientific evaluations.
Beyond the medical spectrum, the Office of Diversion Control (DEA Headquarters) has expanded its department making it a primary goal to “regulate” controlled substances in hopes of decreasing drug abuse.
Under federal law, all businesses which manufacture or distribute controlled drugs, all health professionals entitled to dispense, administer or prescribe them, and all pharmacies entitled to fill prescriptions must register with the DEA. Registrants must comply with a series of regulatory requirements relating to drug security, records accountability, and adherence to standards.
All of these investigations are conducted by Diversion Investigators (DIs), a specialist position within the DEA assigned to investigate suspected sources of diversion and take appropriate criminal and/or administrative actions. Prescription Database Management Programs (PDMP) aid and facilitate investigation and surveillance.
Sometimes in an effort to solve a problem, we end up creating a new one. Sometimes with the most sincere motivations, laws do more to restrict our freedom than to protect the innocent.
Our privacy, protection, and freedom rely on the level of medical expertise and the direct relationship between doctor and patient access permitted within our healthcare system.
Fight for the future.
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Demystifying prior authorization for controlled substances
- Time is still money (and more importantly, energy) in this country and if you have a prescription from your doctor for a controlled substance, there’s a chance you may be required to pick up a physical prescription from your doctor’s office (phoned-in refills are not accepted), and then be asked to show your ID at the pharmacy every time you pick up that particular refill.
Note: It is the Prescription Monitoring Program who is implementing these new regulations. It is not your insurance company and not the FDA requesting your ID every time you pick up your prescriptions.
So…why are you being tracked without a warrant?
Answer: The DEA is tightening regulations on several FDA approved medications, re-cataloging them into new “controlled substances” categories and tracking all of your controlled substances prescriptions with the Prescription Monitoring Program, all in hopes of decreasing drug abuse.
Why is this a problem?
Because you cannot track the medications without tracking the people. Therefore, citizens are being watched by Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, a database that tracks prescriptions for use as a public health tool by physicians and pharmacists.
Patients are also newly required to annually/biannually/tri-annually obtain prior authorization for any of their meds that are controlled substances. Depending on the prescription, the state they’re in and their insurance company, this process can take anywhere from a few hours to a month to complete.
Think about the livelihood of the patient’s wellbeing if something goes wrong for even a few days.
They’re not trying to control the person, they’re trying to control the substance –> therefore they’re regulating every single person. No exception, no variation. They legally can’t regulate you, so they regulate the substance. Unfortunately, not only is this approach unconstitutional, it’s medically unjust. Everyone’s healthcare situation is entirely different and everyone responds to prescription medications completely differently.
The Good News
Oregon is one of the few states that has fought back successfully against the Prescription Monitoring Program. In February, 2014, they became the first state to rule that law enforcement and the DEA must obtain a warrant in order to access patient medical files. GO Oregon!!!
“Medical information is arguably the most personal and private sources of data about us. Yet privacy protections in this area are far from adequate.” —ACLU | Medical Privacy
HOW is your medical privacy in question?
- The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
(The act of all medical health information going electronic via iCloud—even if your doctor feels it’s more secure to have their own copies and backups.)On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (hereafter ARRA). One of the many goals of the ARRA is to encourage the adoption of electronic medical records by doctors and hospitals. One of the most significant barriers to this process is the lack of powerful existing safeguards for patient information.
- The Prescription Monitoring Program is an electronic database that collects information regarding controlled substances dispensed within many states, including Virginia. It appears that Alliance of States with Prescription Monitoring Programs, (www.pmpalliance.org) and National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws (www.namsdl.org) are statewide, housed agencies that gather information about the controlled substances that your doctors prescribe for you and other medications that you may be taking.
- The housed agency distributes data to individuals who are authorized under state law to receive the information for purposes of their profession. For more FAQ, click here.
MEDICAL PRIVACY RESOURCES
- ACLU on Medical Privacy
- FAQ on Government Access to Medical Records (Courtesy of ACLU)
- Protecting Civil Liberties In The Digital Age (Courtesy of ACLU)
- Technology and Liberty (Courtesy of ACLU)
- Know Your Rights (Courtesy of ACLU)
- Patient Privacy Rights (Ensuring YOU control your sensitive health information)
- Virginia Prescription Monitoring Program (What is it?)
- DEA’s FAQ – Statewide Prescription Monitoring Programs — What are they?
For more empowerment info, visit us at vanow.org