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Jul 31 2009

Lawmakers deliver on two fronts

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Image for Lawmakers deliver on two fronts S628: A common-sense adjustment to the Controlled Substances Reporting System

Senate Bill 628, which rewrites state law to allow physicians and others to discuss a patient's controlled substances prescription profile with authorized colleagues, passed both houses of the legislature July 30 and now awaits the Governor's signature.

The state established the Controlled Substances Reporting System (CSRS) in 2007 to track outpatient dispensing of controlled substances across NC. Authorized prescribers can check a patient's profile to see where they have filled prescriptions for controlled substances in the state, the amount prescribed and the name of the prescriber.

Under current law, practitioners may not disclose this information or discuss it with anyone, other than the patient. This has been frustrating to many physicians, who feel the restrictions impede their ability to effectively consult with colleagues who may be treating and prescribing for the same patient.

After licensees brought the problem to the Board's attention, the Board met with Sen. William R. Purcell, MD, the sponsor of S628. Sen. Purcell graciously assisted the Board and its licenses by amending S628 to address the issue.

S628 would expressly permit authorized prescribers to disclose and discuss data obtained by checking a patient's controlled substances profile with another prescriber authorized to access the reporting system. The bill would further rewrite the law to clarify that CSRS data may be retained in a patient's confidential medical record. Finally, S628 authorizes county medical examiners who are investigating the death of an individual to access the CSRS.

S628 would take effect when it becomes law.

H951: Repeals outmoded licensing provisions

The General Assembly passed House Bill 951 and sent it on to the Governor for signature on July 30, 2009.

The bill repeals the vestigial osteopathic licensing provisions that became obsolete after the Medical Board began licensing DOs in 1969. Prior to that time DOs were licensed by a board separate from the Medical Board. All DOs practicing in North Carolina today are licensed by the Medical Board.

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