Prolonged use of controlled substances can lead to physiological or psychological dependence and deaths due to drug overdose have increased dramatically over the last decade. New York State has passed a law called The Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act or I-STOP. The I-STOP legislation is the latest action by authorities to control over-prescription of potentially addictive drugs to patients. The regulation has three specific measures that can help authorities curb substance abuse and restrict the use of controlled substances for non-medical use.
Under this law, doctors have to consult the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program through an online portal before prescribing any medication which is on Schedule II, III or IV (Vicodin, Xanaz etc). The portal will then generate a comprehensive report detailing all instances where such prescriptions were dispensed/refilled to the particular patient during the previous six months. This procedure is mandatory and providers face severe penalties – even loss of license – for noncompliance.
To ensure accurate tracking, pharmacists and other dispensers are required to report in real-time whenever prescriptions for controlled substances are filled. New York is now one of the few states where real-time reporting is compulsory. These steps are aimed to ensure better quality of care for patients as well as enable doctors to provide help for users who are already addicted to prescription painkillers.
Additionally, all controlled substances will now be made available only through electronic prescriptions. Forged or stolen prescriptions are frequently used by addicts to get access to drugs which are not available over the counter. Criminal gangs also use such tactics to get medication which can be sold for a higher price illegally. Electronic prescriptions are difficult to duplicate and easy to verify by pharmacists before filling them.
The I-STOP Act joins the growing list of laws and regulations which providers have to comply with. This may turn out to be an additional burden on overworked doctors who are already grappling with meaningful use, ICD-10 and HIPAA compliance. I-STOP requires providers to have their own individual HCS account which can access the PMP although they can can authorize one or more designees to check the portal on their behalf.
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