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News & Press: Pain Policy

How Virginia’s New Laws Affect Pain Practices

Tuesday, March 7, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Nicole Stagg
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The Virginia legislature and governor recently approved a number of bills that will affect your practice:

Prescription Monitoring Program Requirements

Under existing law, a prescriber was required to check the PMP when initiating a new opioid prescription expected to last more than 14 consecutive days. Passage of House Bill 1885 will require that PMP check to be conducted if the opioid prescription is expected to last more than 7 consecutive days.

Under existing law, a prescriber was exempt from checking the PMP if the opioid was prescribed to a patient as part of treatment for a surgical or invasive procedure and was not refillable. Passage of House Bill 1185 removes “not refillable” and instead allows this exemption only if the prescription is for no more than 14 consecutive days.

Current law allows disclosure of a Medicaid recipient’s PMP data to a Virginia-licensed physician or pharmacist who is a Virginia Medicaid provider. Passage of Senate Bill 1484 expands this allowance to permit these physicians and pharmacists to authorize designees to access the PMP on their behalf.

Passage of HB 2164 declares gabapentin a “drug of concern”, which means all prescriptions of gabapentin will be reported to the PMP.

Dispensation of Naloxone

Thanks to passage of House Bill 1750, the Commissioner of Health may issue a standing order authorizing pharmacists to dispense naloxone or another opioid antagonist used for overdose reversal without an order for a specific patient issued by a prescriber. This allowance will take effect July 1, 2017.

Workgroup on Safe Opioid Prescribing

Due to passage of Senate Bill 1179, a workgroup will be convened by the Secretary of Health and Human Resources to develop educational standards and curricula for training health care providers in the safe and appropriate use of opioids to treat pain while minimizing the risk of addiction and abuse.

This workgroup will include representatives of:

    The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services
    The Department of Health, and Health Professions
    The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia
    Each of the Commonwealth’s medical schools
    Each of the Commonwealth’s dental schools
    Each of the Commonwealth’s schools of pharmacy
    Each of the Commonwealth’s physician assistant education programs, and
    Each of the Commonwealth’s nursing education programs

If you believe that you would be a good candidate for inclusion on this workgroup, Virginia’s Secretary of Health and Human Resources can be contacted for more information at or (804) 786-7765.

If you have any questions about the new laws in Virginia or would like to discuss your policy concerns related to pain management, please feel free to reach out to our policy department at any time:

Amy Goldstein, MSW, SPPAN Director
Katie Duensing, JD, Assistant Director, Legislative & Regulatory Affairs