Statistics show that more people than ever are now struggling with addiction to prescription narcotics, and that this epidemic is not only resulting in record overdoses but also a surge in criminal activity.
For instance, consider a recent case here in Minnesota, where a 50-year-old woman recently pleaded guilty to fraudulently using the Social Security numbers of both living and deceased individuals to illegally secure prescriptions for potent painkillers from as many as 150 physicians throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin.
This unfortunate reality has undoubtedly served to make things incredibly difficult for practicing physicians in that they want and need to help those patients who are in legitimate pain, yet do not want to risk breaking the law or losing their hard-earned license.
The good news is that there are steps physicians can take to help protect their patients and themselves. For instance, they can register with the Minnesota Prescription Monitoring Program, a healthcare database designed to prevent both doctor and pharmacy shopping.
Specifically, the MNPMP allows concerned physicians to perform their due diligence by checking a patient's history of controlled substances and the pharmacies where any prescriptions have been filled.
It should be noted that the state legislature is currently considering legislation that, if passed, would mandate that all licensed physicians must register with MNPMP and keep an account in good standing, but only use it at their discretion. Additionally, the legislation -- HF 1652 and SF 1440 -- would enable physicians to access the MNPMP without patient consent for valid medical purposes.
What are your thoughts on this legislation?
If you are a licensed physician who has received any sort of unnerving communication from the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, please consider speaking with an experienced and highly skilled legal professional as soon as possible.