Committee hears testimony on improved prescription monitoring program

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LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Committee on Health Policy heard testimony Tuesday on an improved prescription monitoring program that could help prevent drug diversion and fraud in the state, said Chairman Sen. Mike Shirkey.

Appriss Health spoke to the committee about the company’s improvements to the Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS) to integrate it into physician workflow and speed up the process of monitoring prescriptions.

Shirkey said improving MAPS is an important part of the answer to the state’s opioid abuse epidemic.

“Opioid abuse is a multi-faceted societal problem that we need to address with a comprehensive, well-thought-out solution,” said Shirkey, R-Clarklake. “It is not just the prescribers of medications who will fix this issue; we all need to work together to help communities and curb the opioid epidemic once and for all.”

MAPS helps prevent drug diversion and fraud by prescribers, pharmacies, and patients. The system tracks prescriptions for Schedule 2 through Schedule 5 controlled substances.

MAPS is particularly useful for physicians to monitor whether patients with pain symptoms have multiple prescriptions and could be engaging in drug diversion. It also can identify providers who may be abusing their prescriptive authority.

“The problem with our current MAPS is that it’s slow and not integrated into physician workflow,” Shirkey said. “As it currently operates, the physician has to exit the patient’s medical record and pull a different report from MAPS to uncover the patient’s Schedule 2 through 5 prescription history. This can take up to 10 minutes, so unfortunately many physicians forego this process.”

The new MAPS, created by Appriss, will be implemented soon and will be a faster system.

Shirkey said mandating MAPS and penalizing physicians will be an important piece of the opioid solution puzzle.

“But mandating MAPS and penalizing physicians before we are sure the new system is integrated properly and before we are sure physicians are comfortable with the new system could lead to some severe unintended consequences,” he said. “That is why we heard today from Appriss about the work they have done on the system, how it will be implemented and the practical applications of the system for those who will be using it.”

Last week, Shirkey introduced Senate Bill 272, which would require physicians to educate patients and have them sign a form developed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services that indicates they understand the dangers of opioids, they have been given proper medication disposal instructions, and they understand it is against Michigan law for their pills to get in the hands of any other individual.

SB 272 is part of a comprehensive effort among lawmakers and Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration to address the growing opioid abuse epidemic in Branch, Hillsdale, and Jackson counties and across the state.

As part of this effort, numerous bills were unveiled last week in both the House and Senate. Most of the Senate bills are now before the Senate Health Policy Committee.