Doing our part on the opioid epidemic

June 2, 2016

Hospital leaders across the state are committed to doing our part to stop the opioid abuse epidemic. We are very excited about a new state law that expands access to the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP).

The PMP is a statewide database of filled opioid prescriptions that providers can check before prescribing opioids to a patient. The PMP helps spot and get assistance to drug-seekers. It also helps make sure that patients who present with conditions that may be associated with drug seeking but who are not drug seekers get the treatment they need.

In the past, only individual physicians who had a DEA license could access the PMP– it wasn’t open to medical assistants, nurses or others who might also handle patient charts and be able to help flag an issue. This proved too clunky and cumbersome, and many physicians did not use it. The new law that WSHA, the Washington State Medical Association and the Department of Health jointly supported allows clinic- and system-level access to the information. Hospitals and clinics can now have other staff query the database. This allows the physicians to spend time with patients rather than computers. The new law also allows all prescribers, not just those with a DEA license, access to the database.

We are working with the Department of Health to educate members about the new law and to implement it on June 10. We hope you will join us to learn more and put the PMP to work in your facilities.

Cassie Sauer
Executive Vice President


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Washington State Hospital Association
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