HHS to make grants for prescription monitoring systems

New program to assist states with systems overseeing controlled drugs

The Health and Human Services Department's new grant program to help states establish prescription monitoring programs for controlled substances will make its first awards by September.

The HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is administering the program created under the National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Act of 2005.

Thirty-five states have created operational prescription monitoring programs for controlled substances, according to a Federal Register notice on April 14.

Related story: 

DEA issues rule on e-prescribing of controlled drugs

HHS wants public input to set the criteria for the program intended to help states establish or improve their prescription drug reporting systems. Enhancements that allow the systems to share information with each other are eligible.

Under the reporting programs, doctors and pharmacists submit information on prescriptions dispensed for controlled substances, which include stimulants, sedatives, depressants and narcotics.

The Drug Enforcement Administration recently issued a notice of proposed rule-making which, if made final, would permit electronic prescribing of controlled substances.

“The administrator believes that the future changes in health information technology and electronic health records will have a significant impact on prescription monitoring programs,” the Federal Register notice states.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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