The opioid addiction problem has been widely publicized and is considered a public health emergency in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),42,249 people died due to overdoses involving opioids in 2016—64.4 percent of all overdose deaths. Texas was one of the states with a statistically significant increase in drug overdose deaths from 2015 to 2016—7.4 percent.
What Are the Texas Medical Board’s Rules on Opioid Prescriptions?
Due to this health crisis, the Texas Medical Board (TMB) enforces strict requirements on pain management clinics and doctors regarding the treatment of pain with prescription painkillers. Unfortunately, these stringent requirements can jeopardize the license of medical professionals who do not understand the rules and fail to follow them exactly. Under the Minimum Requirements for Treatment of Chronic Pain rule, a physician’s treatment of a patient’s chronic pain will be evaluated by determining if his care meets the generally accepted standard of care. In addition, he must follow minimum requirements that include the following:
Evaluation of the Patient
The doctor must obtain a medical history and conduct a physical examination that includes a problem-focused exam specific to the patient’s main complaint.
Medical records must document the medical history and physical examination of the patient. When the patient suffers from chronic pain, the medical record must document the nature and intensity of the pain, current and past treatment for pain, underlying diseases or medical conditions, and the effect of the pain on the patient’s physical and psychological functioning. In addition, any history of substance abuse and the presence of one or more medically recognized indications of the use of a dangerous or scheduled drug must be documented.
The doctor must have a written treatment plan in the medical records. It must include how the medication relates to the patient’s complaint, dosage and frequency of medication, further diagnostic testing and evaluations, other treatments planned or considered, and planned periodic reviews.
Are you a physician in the Dallas, Fort Worth, Mid-Cities area, or anywhere else in Texas, being investigated by the Texas Medical Board because you have prescribed opioids or other pain management medications? Attorney Walt Taylor is an experienced medical licensing defense and peer review attorney who can represent you in TMB proceedings and help you build a strong defense.
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