Frequently Asked Questions

What is my user name?
To obtain a user name and password, you must fill out a Data Requester Registration Form. Have it notarized and then mail the original to the address on the form. You will receive your username and password via email. If you forget your username and password, please call the helpdesk at 866-792-3149.
What is my password?
If you were previously registered as a data requester, HID will e-mail you a temporary password. If you have not yet registered, download the Data Requester Registration Form and follow the steps on the form.
How do I get PMP information about my patients?

Once your registration is approved, you will be able to access PMP data online by following the instructions in the RxSentry Training Guide for Data Requesters

Another way you may receive information from the program is via notification letter. These letters are automatically sent to the health care providers of any patient who exceeds the threshold number of prescribers, pharmacies, or drug levels.

Which drugs does the program monitor?
The Legislation creating the program stipulates that the program shall monitor all drugs in Schedules II, III, & IV as described by the Federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
Who can access the information in the system?
Pharmacists and prescribers can access the system for information regarding their own patients, and prescribers can download a list of all prescriptions attributed to them. Licensing boards may use the information for investigations they are conducting. Law enforcement officials can access the data only through the Attorney General's Office by grand jury subpoena for a case they are currently investigating. MaineCare's Program Integrity Unit has access for fraud investigations. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is allowed access for cause of death determination in their investigations. Individuals may come to Augusta to receive information about themselves. (For more specifics on who is allowed access, please refer to the rules.)
Who is required to be involved with the Prescription Monitoring Program?
Any pharmacist or dispensing prescriber, who is licensed to dispense controlled substances in or into the State of Maine, is required by law to submit data to the program. (Neither hospital inpatient dispensing data nor data from veterinarians is collected.) All licensed medical prescribers are required.to register to use the program.
Why was the Prescription Monitoring Program set up?

In response to the rapid rise of prescription drug abuse since 1997, and based on alarming statistics like the ones given below, Maine's legislature assigned the task of creating an electronic Prescription Monitoring Program to the Office of Substance Abuse (OSA) in 2003 to help address this problem.

  • Overdose deaths increased dramatically between 1995 and 2002, primarily because of prescription drug abuse. In 2001, 70 out of 90 drug-related deaths (78%) were caused by a pharmaceutical. In 2002, 148 out of 166 drug-related deaths (89%) were caused by a pharmaceutical.
  • Treatment admissions for prescription drug abuse increased exponentially from 83 in 1995 to 1148 in 2003 (according to TDS).
  • Arrests for prescription drug diversion increased dramatically during the same time period, constituting 16% of MDEA arrests in State Fiscal Year 2003.
  • Many youth have reported use of prescription drugs to get high (according to the MIYHS and the NSDUH).
Will my PMP information be safe?
The information being collected is safeguarded in both its collection and distribution. Prescribers and dispensers must register to access information from the database. Inappropriate use of the information is a Class C Felony as stated by the law.

Prescriber Questions:

I got a letter from the Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services about a patient. Why did I get it? What should I do about it?

If you receive a notification letter with a patient report from the Prescription Monitoring Program, the patient has crossed a threshold for number of prescribers, pharmacies, or drug levels during a given time period (these thresholds may change over time).

Four steps are recommended for handling threshold reports:

  • CONFIRM that you wrote the prescriptions attributed to you,
  • CONSIDER contacting the other prescribers on the report,
  • DISCUSS the report with the patient, and
  • FILE the report in the patient’s chart.

Further guidelines regarding what can be done with PMP reports may be found on SAMHS prescribers' page.

How can the PMP information help me in my daily practice of medicine?

The PMP database is most useful for detecting and preventing “doctor-shopping" and consequently may help identify with abuse and or addiction. If you sign up as a data requester, you can log on and view controlled substance prescription history for a patient, dating back as far as July of 2004. If you see a pattern of excessive use of controlled substances, you can use more caution in prescribing or dispensing to the patient.

Another use for the database is for prescribers to detect pharmacy errors or fraudulent use of their DEA numbers. A data requester can log in to the PMP and run a “Prescriber History” query to find what prescriptions for controlled substances were attributed to them during a specified time period.

Can I get PMP information about a new patient?
Yes; if you are registered with the PMP, you can request a report on a new patient you will be seeing at a future appointment. This allows you to check on someone’s Schedule II, III, and IV drug history before you even see them.
Can I consult with other Prescribers listed on a patient report without patient authorization?
According to HIPAA, this type of consultation is permitted because consultation is within the HIPAA definition of "treatment." To see the official FAQ about this question, please click here: HIPAA Page.
What PMP data disclosures am I permitted to make?
The Maine Medical Association has produced a document, Privacy Issues and the PMP (pdf) , outlining how state and federal regulations effect what disclosure providers can make of PMP data they have received. The document answers questions relating to disclosures to the patient, other practitioners, pharmacists, MaineCare, regulatory personnel, and law enforcement, and it talks about legal responsibility for not acting based on PMP data received. Hard copies can be requested (to be received by fax or mail) by calling (207) 287-3363.
Am I legally obliged to report information found in PMP to law enforcement?
No; however, there may be situations in which you would be required to report something to one of the licensing boards or to MaineCare. For example, if you find out that one of your professional colleagues is impaired by a substance abuse issue, you would be obligated to report that to your licensing board (e.g., the Board of Licensure in Medicine). Also, if you come across evidence of MaineCare fraud, your MaineCare agreement requires you to report that to the Office of MaineCare Services. Refer to MMA's privacy document for further information. The Controlled Substances Act also outlines specific guidelines.
I’m new to the PMP. Where can I get assistance?
The "RxSentry Training Guide for Data Requesters" can help guide you through the steps necessary to run Practitioner/Pharmacist queries. If you would like further technical assistance with logging in or running reports, you can contact the PMP Helpdesk at : 866-792-3149.
The database seems outdated. Can the pharmacies submit the data at the same time they dispense the drugs?
A rule change that went into effect in 2010 requires pharmacies to submit data within a week of the controlled substances being dispensed. Pharmacies are encouraged to submit data more often than required.
Can my office staff access the PMP database on my behalf?
The Terms of Use prohibit the sharing of usernames and passwords. However, data requesters may assign “sub-accounts” to licensed health care providers who work for them (e.g., nurses) by filling out the Sub-account Registration Form. Unlicensed ancillary staff, such as certified Medical Assistants, may also access the database. A rule change that allows data requesters to assign a sub-account to any staff member started in the summer of 2011.
How does HIPAA affect the Prescription Monitoring Program?
In administrating the PMP program, SAMHS is a “health oversight agency” under HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). Because the disclosures of information to the PMP by pharmacies are mandated and not discretionary, the patient does not need to be informed of the disclosure and does not need to consent to it. For more information about HIPAA, go to the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights - HIPAA Page.
Can another registered provider or sub-account look up data regarding clients of another medical provider?
No,a provider needs to have a current relationship to look up PMP data. Another provider must wait until those clients are transferred into his/her care prior to accessing records, hence if the physician does not have a current prescribing relationship with that patient, neither do the sub-accounts.A provider may access the records if given written patient consent to do so.
What will happen to my PMP access if I change practices?

Your access to the PMP will not be disrupted; However you need to report your change of address to the:

Will my Maine PMP access be affected if I actively practice in other states?
Not as long as you have an active Maine license.
What will happen to my PMP access if I retire from my practice in Maine?
You will no longer be eligible to access the PMP system. Please notify the PMP office at samhs.irc@maine.gov of your effective retirement date.

 

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