Policymakers recently considered RI H 7847, a bill that would have amended currently existing law pertaining to persons and entities who may access data from Rhode Island’s prescription monitoring program (PMP). The bill’s purpose was to extend access to PMP data “[t]o any vendor, agent, contractor, or designee who operates an electronic health record or clinical management system for the purpose of sharing data with practitioners, pharmacists, or licensed health care facilities or designees.” The American Academy of Pain Management fully supports PMP integration with electronic health records; however, we feel that it is our duty to help ensure that language authorizing such an integration is drafted as carefully as possible to ensure that patient privacy is honored. We were concerned that the language of H 7847 was overly broad and vague and that it may inadvertently extend PMP access to unauthorized and unintended users.
After expressing our concerns to Representative Joseph M. McNamara, Chair of Rhode Island’s House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare, the Committee recommended that the bill be held for further study at this time. That is an ideal outcome, and we look forward to working with policymakers in Rhode Island to develop language that will appropriately protect patient privacy while also enabling health care providers to provide optimal care to their patients.
To Rhode Island’s House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare, and to all of the other concerned advocates who took the time to contact the Committee, we thank you!