AMA Wire

Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012

Practice News

Initiative promotes safe disposal of unused meds

Physicians can help prevent prescription drug abuse by encouraging their patients to appropriately dispose of expired or unwanted medications on Saturday, which is the next National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

Prescription medications are the most commonly abused drugs next to marijuana, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and safely disposing of unused medications can help counter this trend. Authorities collected more than 276 tons of unwanted or expired medications during the last National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in April, bringing the total collected by such events to 774 tons.

Visit the DEA website to learn more about National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. The site features a search function to help locate collection sites and drug disposal information for patients. The event lasts from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. local time.

Physicians also can use the AMA's medication disposal guide to remind patients to dispose of expired, unwanted and unused medicines properly. And a training module from the AMA provides tips on educating and counseling patients about the dangers of prescription drug diversion.

View a blog post by AMA President Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, highlighting National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day and the issue of prescription drug abuse.

Establishing a fee schedule: AMA toolkit outlines steps

A set of resources from the AMA can help physicians understand how to establish a unique practice fee schedule based on their costs to deliver care.

The AMA's Defensible Fee Schedule Toolkit shows physicians how to develop an accurate fee schedule that takes into consideration the expenses of running the practice and providing health care services. Knowing this information before signing a contract with an insurer can help physicians evaluate proposed contracted fees.

The toolkit explains 12 steps for creating a practice fee schedule and offers an easy-to-complete spreadsheet for AMA members.

Additional information about fee analysis is available through the AMA Practice Management Center.