Mandatory Prescriber Education Requirement

The Department of Health recently issued FAQs on the new requirement for mandatory prescriber education in pain management, palliative care and addiction pursuant to Public Health Law §3309-a(3). 

The statute requires all physicians (including all non-physician prescribers) who have a DEA registration number to complete at least three hours of course work or training in pain management, palliative care and addiction no later than July 1, 2017 and once every three years thereafter.  The course work or training must cover eight mandatory training topics, including New York State and federal requirements for prescribing controlled substances; pain management; appropriate prescribing; managing acute pain; palliative medicine; prevention, screening and signs of addiction; responses to abuse and addiction; and end of life care.

Who must comply?
The FAQs clarify that the new course work and training requirement applies to
all New York licensed prescribers who treat humans and who have a DEA registration, even in the following circumstances: 

  • Who do not prescribe opioids or other controlled substances;
  • Who prescribe a low volume of controlled substances; 
  • Not currently practicing in New York State;
  • Currently practicing in another state;
  • With a DEA registration in a state other than New York;
  • Who are retired and who do not treat patients, but who have an active license and a DEA registration;
  • Who work in a VA hospital, federal installation or Indian Reservation.

The new requirement also applies to medical residents who prescribe controlled substances under a facility DEA registration number. 

At this time, the only prescribers who are automatically exempt from the course work and training requirement are: (i) prescribers who do not have a current DEA registration and (ii) veterinarians.   

The Department may grant additional exemptions only in extremely limited circumstances upon demonstration to the Department that there is no need for the prescriber to complete the course work or training.  However, the Department has indicated that exemptions will not be granted based solely upon economic hardship, technological limitations, prescribing volume, practice area, specialty or board certification.  The Department will be posting additional instructions regarding the exemption process shortly.  

Attestation
Following completion of the three hours of required course work, prescribers must attest to such completion no later than July 1, 2017.  Attestation may be completed online via the Narcotic Education Attestation Tracker (NEAT) application, which is a part of the Health Commerce System (HCS).  Prescribers must have an HCS account in order to access the NEAT application.  Prescribers wishing to obtain a paper attestation form may contact the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement at 1-866-811-7957.  Separate instructions for completing an attestation will be posted shortly on the BNE website (https://www.health.ny.gov/professionals/narcotic/mandatory_prescriber_education/). 

Initial course work and training (and attestation) must be completed by July 1, 2017 and then every three years thereafter.  Any relevant course work or training completed between July 1, 2015 and July 1, 2017 will qualify for the initial July 1, 2017 attestation requirement.  For each subsequent attestation period, the course work or training must be completed during the relevant attestation period. 

Prescribers are required to maintain documentation of completion of the course work or training for at least six (6) years from the date of attestation. 

Courses
The Department recently announced a free 3-hour online course in conjunction with the University of Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.   The Department has noted that the University of Buffalo program currently covers four of the mandated topic areas. Part II of the training, which covers the remaining topic areas, will be available on or before April 15, 2017.  Once Part I of the training has been completed, the prescriber will receive an e-mail when Part II is open for registration. Additional information cna be found on the University of Buffalo website at http://pharmacy.buffalo.edu/opioid-training.

In addition, the New York Chapter of the American College of Physicians is offering a 3-hour online course on the required eight topics in conjunction with the Boston University School of Medicine.  This course is available free of charge to all prescribers.  For more information please visit the NYACP website at http://www.nyacp.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3831.

The Medical Society of the State of New York is also offering three 1-hour online courses covering the required eight topics.  The courses are free to MSSNY members and will be made available to non-members for a fee of $50 per module.  For more information about the online courses, please visit the MSSNY website at:  http://www.mssny.org/MSSNY/Public_Health/Opioid_Abuse/Opioid_CME_Webinar_Course.aspx

Course work and training completed in connection with other continuing medical education requirements may count towards the new prescriber education requirement, as long as the course work or training in question covers the eight mandatory training topics. 

A copy of the new FAQs may be downloaded here.  Additional information is available on the DOH website at https://www.health.ny.gov/professionals/narcotic/mandatory_prescriber_education/