AMA Wire

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

For Physicians

Program covers prescription abuse, pain management

A newly updated continuing medical education (CME) program from the AMA can help physicians strike an appropriate balance between managing patients' chronic pain and preventing abuse and diversion of prescription painkillers.

This updated series is a comprehensive educational resource comprised of 12 modules that address numerous clinically important aspects of pain management, from assessment to structuring therapy and managing risks.

"Maintaining an understanding of appropriate pain management can better help physicians ensure legitimate patients get the pain relief they need while helping to prevent prescription drug abuse and diversion," AMA Immediate-past President Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, said in a news release.

The AMA modules cover such topics as pain mechanisms and assessment, management options for cancer patients and patients with other persistent pain, the universal-precautions approach to the clinical use of opioid analgesics, and the need to structure therapy appropriately and manage the risks associated with these substances. Several modules focus on specific populations, disorders and conditions.

Physicians can complete the entire program or select modules that address the specific needs of their practices and patients. This activity has been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.

The program update was made possible by support from the Prescribers' Clinical Support System for Opioid Therapies (PCSS-O), a collaborative project funded by a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. The PCSS-O is led by the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry and includes the AMA, the American Dental Association, the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Society for Pain Management Nursing and the International Nurses Society on Addictions.

Sunshine Act physician pay reporting to begin Aug. 1

Patients soon will have access to physicians' financial interactions with drug and medical device manufacturers. Such information as payments, ownership interests and other "transfers of value" will be publicly reported in an online database run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Under the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, manufacturers of drugs, devices, biological and medical supplies covered by federal health care programs are required to report financial interactions with physicians and teaching hospitals to CMS beginning Aug. 1. The data will be published by Sept. 30, 2014.

In addition to reporting the type of financial exchange and the dollar amount, manufacturers are required to report the reason for the interaction, including consulting, food, ownership or investment interest, direct compensation for speakers and research.

Physicians should prepare now to ensure the accuracy of the data their patients will see when the database launches next year. The best way to get ready is to start with AMA resources.

An archived AMA webinar explains what physicians need to know about the law. By viewing this hourlong recording, physicians can learn which financial exchanges and ownership interests are subject to reporting, how to begin preparing, and the process through which they can challenge false, inaccurate or misleading reports before they come under public scrutiny.

Additional detailed information about the new law, including requirements, key dates and answers to frequently asked questions, is available on the AMA Sunshine Act Web page.