OIG: Washington PDMP makes some progress with enhancements

Federal funds used by the Evergreen State to enhance its prescription drug monitoring program appear to be at least partially well spent, according to Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General.

Washington received a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to improve its PDMP capabilities. PDMPs are electronic databases that help states to track controlled substance prescriptions by flagging suspicious prescribing activities.

Also See: Prescription monitoring programs crucial to fighting opioid epidemic

But, according to the OIG audit, Washington has only completed some of the activities it proposed for the CDC grant. Specifically, of the 11 proposed activities, six were completed, while the other five were only partially completed.

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The six completed activities include creating PDMP reports and implementing new prescribing metrics; integrating PDMP data into healthcare systems’ electronic health records; implementing and updating PDMP rules to enable pharmacists to delegate access to the PDMP data; changing the reporting of prescriptions dispensed from weekly to daily; and enabling healthcare systems access to PDMP data.

“Washington had partially completed the remaining five activities, such as conducting PDMP data linkage studies and using a mapping tool to identify ‘hotspots’ (outlier geographical areas with respect to prescribing behavior and overdose deaths) and ‘treatment service deserts’ (areas that have a high need for treatment services but have scarce resources),” states the OIG.

“For these activities, Washington provided an estimated completion date for three activities and was unable to provide an estimated completion date for two activities,” according to auditors. “Washington said that if it is unable to complete these two activities by the end of the project period (Aug. 31, 2019); it plans to use state funds to continue this effort.”

At the same time, auditors noted that Washington complied with federal requirements for submitting its Federal Financial Report and Annual Performance Report and publicly reporting the five CDC-directed indicators that were required for awardees using PDMPs for public health surveillance.

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