The Health and Human Services Committee heard testimony Feb. 10 on a bill that would require most prescribers and dispensers to register with the state’s prescription drug monitoring program.
LB86, introduced by Sen. Bruce Bostelman of Brainard, would mandate that active prescribers and dispensers who are registered under the Uniform Credentialing Act also register with the state Department of Health and Human Services for the PDMP. The bill would exempt credential holders who don’t prescribe, dispense or treat patients as well as veterinarians and members of the armed forces who do not practice in Nebraska.
Bostelman said the bill would help Nebraska comply with a federal law that mandates that prescribers and dispensers register with a monitoring system by Oct. 1, 2021. He added that federal funding for the state’s prescription drug monitoring program would be available if LB86 passes.
“Nebraska could expect funding in perpetuity for our PDMP,” he said.
Dexter Schrodt of the Nebraska Medical Association testified in support of LB86. In written testimony, Schrodt said Nebraska physicians are aware that past prescribing practices contributed to the opioid epidemic and that the PDMP helps address the problem.
“The PDMP is an important tool for accountability that nearly every state has adopted,” he said.
Also offering written testimony in support was Robert Hallstrom on behalf of the Nebraska Pharmacists Association. He said many of the approximately 5,200 pharmacists registered in Nebraska do not live or practice in the state and that exempting them from the registry was appropriate.
Felicia Quintana-Zinn, deputy director of the Division of Public Health at the state Department of Health and Human Services, testified against the bill. She said the department opposes additional mandates on prescribers and said the bill would create more work for DHHS staff.
About 25 percent of licensed prescribers and 37 percent of licensed pharmacists in Nebraska have registered for the monitoring program, Quintana-Zinn said.
“This leaves nearly 16,800 persons to be registered within a few months,” she said. “Both the PDMP registration and the updates to the current modernization projects would be time and resource intensive.”
The committee took no immediate action on LB86.