AMA Wire

Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012

For Physicians

On-demand webinars discuss opioid prescribing, overdose

Two new AMA webinars available for on-demand viewing can help physicians understand how to safely and effectively prescribe opioids.

These webinars are the first in a series of 12 AMA webinars on topics related to responsible opioid prescribing. By viewing the webinars, physicians can enhance their knowledge about safely prescribing opioids for the millions of Americans who suffer from chronic pain and may need these medications to function in their day-to-day lives.

The first webinar explains how to identify patients who are appropriate candidates for opioid therapy and how to monitor and evaluate their response. Presenter Lynn R. Webster, MD, president-elect of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, shares eight tested principles for managing pain while avoiding misuse of prescription opioids.

The second webinar will be available for on-demand viewing beginning Thursday. In this webinar, speakers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention give an overview of the epidemiology of prescription drug overdoses and deaths. The webinar also explains the factors associated with an increased risk of unintentional overdoses from opioids as well as public policy and clinical practice strategies to promote responsible opioid prescribing.

Understand your Medicare participation options

A newly updated toolkit from the AMA can help physicians understand the three Medicare participation options for 2013. The three options are:

  • Participating (often referred to as "PAR")
  • Non-participating (referred to as "non-PAR")
  • Private contracting

Physicians have only until Dec. 31 to make any changes in their PAR or non-PAR status for 2013, while decisions to do private contracting can be made at the beginning of each quarter.

The AMA's newly updated Medicare Participation Kit provides resources to help you understand your options, select your participation status and follow-up with your patients accordingly.

In addition to an informational guide offering detailed explanations of the three Medicare participation options, the kit includes frequently asked questions and a revenue calculator to help physicians estimate how much their total revenue from seeing Medicare patients would change if they were to switch their status from Medicare PAR to non-PAR.

Sample documents, such as template letters and a phone script, can help physicians communicate any status changes to their Medicare patients.

AMA allows physicians to restrict their prescribing data

The AMA's Physician Data Restriction Program (PDRP) is physicians' exclusive option for deciding whether or not their prescribing data is accessible to pharmaceutical sales representatives. The AMA does not collect physician prescribing data but is able to exert regulations on how prescribing data may be used. Physicians can restrict their prescribing data from reps and register related complaints by enrolling online.