Michigan’s Enhanced Prescription Monitoring Program and new Analytic Tools for Controlled Substances Help Protect Both Patients and Providers

By: Jesse Adam Markos, Esq.
Wachler & Associates, P.C

The increase in prescription drug abuse and the resulting overdose deaths have become a major public health concern. According to Center for Disease Control statistics, the number of deaths attributed to prescription drug abuse in Michigan has increased significantly from year to year. Obviously, drug abuse is a complex issue which cannot be solved by any single initiative. However, providers must remain proactive to assist in the prevention of abuse and diversion and they can do so by fully utilizing Michigan’s enhanced prescription monitoring program and the new analytic tools associated with that program.

No matter how diligent a provider is, if they are given incorrect facts, they cannot properly treat patients. To address this, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs recently unveiled an enhanced prescription monitoring program to help ensure that providers are working with accurate information. Prior to this year, the effectiveness of the previous Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS) was restrained by its lack of integration with electronic health records programs and relatively inefficient response times. But starting in 2016, 120 million prescription records were migrated into a new prescription monitoring system, which went live on April 4, 2017. In addition, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley recently announced that $2.1 million of state and federal funding would be used to integrate MAPS and the health records databases of hospitals, pharmacies and other healthcare entities. This investment comes as reportedly only 28 percent of providers who prescribe controlled substances are utilizing MAPS. In 2016, a bill was introduced to mandate that prescribers of Schedule 2-5 controlled prescriptions enroll in the MAPS program, but it has, as of yet, failed to pass into law.

Another major step in the evolution of Michigan’s prescription monitoring program was developed by Appriss Health, the company which designed the new MAPS software. Appriss plans to make its platform “NarxCare” available to Michigan providers before the end of 2017. Appriss’ summarizes NarxCare as an “analytics tool and care management platform that helps prescribers and dispensers analyze real-time controlled substance data from Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs.” More specifically, NarxCare compiles all of a patient’s medical information into a report, which calculates a risk score representing the likelihood that a patient will abuse narcotics, sedatives, or stimulants based on factors such as visitations to several providers over a short period of time for controlled substances. This risk score will be included directly into a patient’s EHR.

The enhanced MAPS and associated analytic tools are designed to prevent drug abuse and diversion. If they prove effective, they will hopefully save lives and help prevent the devastating impact of drug abuse on families across Michigan. Moreover, whether or not a mandate is passed by the Michigan Legislature requiring providers to enroll in the MAPS program, providers should strongly consider fully utilizing the new MAPS system, in order to help their patients as well as to protect their own practices and licenses. For additional information or assistance, contact a Wachler & Associates attorney at (248) 544-0888.

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