Nebraska becomes first state to require all drugs be reported to prescription monitoring program

Nebraska Health Information Initiative CEO Deb Bass said the agency is trying to identify and avoid adverse medical effects to reduce readmissions.
By Bernie Monegain
12:32 PM
prescription monitoring PDMP

Nebraska is the first state to require reporting of all dispensed prescription drugs to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.

Nebraska Health Information Initiative CEO Deb Bass said the move could save lives – not only for those taking opioids, but potentially for anyone prescribed drugs.

“We’re after those adverse medical effects,” Bass said. “Often readmissions are connected to improper medication usage, or they didn’t get their medications filled. They didn’t take the medication as they were supposed to. There are also individuals that have drug-drug interaction and they end up being re-hospitalized.”

[Also: Michigan law requires providers check state's PDMP before prescribing opioids]

The PDMP nationwide initiative took effect Jan. 1, 2018, and other states have also been advancing their health IT efforts to support drug monitoring.

The Indiana Scheduled Prescription Electronic Collection and Tracking program, or INSPECT, is compiling controlled substance information into EHRs statewide to make it easier to identify fraudulent prescriptions. INSPECT performs two critical functions, officials note. It maintains a warehouse of patient information for healthcare professionals, and it provides a critical investigative tool for law enforcement.

Bass said that if adverse medical events connected to improper use of medication were fewer or eliminated, it would generate significant savings. Moreover, she said, identifying risks for patients who struggle with their medication adherence and adding case management to the equation would help the patients.

[Also: Virginia proposes tracking provider prescribing habits with PDMP]

“You can go in either direction here,” she said, but both would be extremely beneficial in the future bending of the cost curve.

NEHII partners with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

“They really are our state partners, and the state has to take the lead with this,” Bass said. “We deliver the technology and perform the work out in the field.”

[Also: Florida's opioid fight: Bill would require providers check PDMP before prescribing]

The state partners are policymakers and administrators of the program, and they also work with NeHII on grant funding, as well as pharmacies and pharmacists.

“They deal on a regular basis with consumers that are asking t questions about medication protocol,” Bass said. “They understand that this can be a very helpful tool for prescribers rather than making frequent phone calls.”

NEHII and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services tapped Rockville, Maryland-based DrFirst to capture state prescription information and deliver it to its PDMP.

“NeHII is focused on sharing timely and accurate patient health information in a secure environment to improve patient care,” Bass said. “DrFirst is working closely with us to deliver the functionality we need to further enhance our PDMP, and provide a complete view of a patient’s prescription history and the ability to catch potential red flags, including adverse reactions and opioid abuse.”

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(Photo courtesy ChristianaCare)

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Pain management therapy demonstration at Airrosti. (Credit: Airrosti)

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