The Medical Board of California (“MBC”) began this project in 2013 when it required coroners to inform it of deaths resulting from opioids. The influx of coroners’ reports triggered an intense enforcement effort by the MBC to mine the data in the CA Department of Justice’s Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (“CURES”) to identify physicians who prescribed for the persons identified in death certificates. The MBC has conducted a veritable deluge of formal investigations of physicians and has filed an unprecedented number of accusations based on this single source.
On January, 1, 2018, The Joint Commission’s (TJC) new and revised pain assessment and management standards go into effect for TJC accredited hospitals. The changes to the standards stem from a review commenced by The Joint Commission in 2016 to bring the preceding accreditation standards into alignment with leading practices in pain assessment and management, and the safe use of opioids. In light of these standards, hospitals and their medical staffs should review their current policies, protocols, and procedures to ensure their practices comply with the new TJC requirements.
Recently, the Medical Board of California circulated an open letter, known as a Prescriber Guidance Letter to all practitioners in California who prescribe opiates. The letter was authored by a statewide workgroup on Prescription Opioid Misuse and Overdose Prevention. The workgroup includes the Medical Board of California, the Board of Pharmacy, the California Department of Public Health, the DEA, DMV, California Department of Justice, California Health and Human Services, California Society of Addition Medicine, and California Healthcare Foundation, among others.
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