Magazine article Drug Topics

DEA Recognizes LTC Nurses as Agents of Prescribers

Magazine article Drug Topics

DEA Recognizes LTC Nurses as Agents of Prescribers

Article excerpt

POLICY CHANGE

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has changed a policy in place since 2001 and now recognizes long-termcare (LTC) nurses as agents of prescribers of Schedule C-III through C-V medications, according to a Federal Register notice released October 6.

In the Federal Register notice, a DEA policy statement outlines the proper roles of agents - including but not limited to LTC nurses - and practitioners when there is no employer-employee relationship. The notice also provides guidance about differences in prescription requirements for Schedule II and Schedule HI through V medications, defines what constitutes an agent, summarizes the requirements of a prescription, and covers the rules associated with faxing prescriptions for controlled substances.

The American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP) has advocated for many years to change DEA policies for patients in LTC facilities who encountered delays in access to prescribed medications that were subject to regulation under the Controlled Substances Act.

"We commend the DEA for clearing the way for improved quality care for patients," said ASCP President-elect Albert Barber, PharmD, CGP, FASCP, in a press release.

"By allowing the long-term-care nurse to serve as an agent of the prescribing physician, orders for C-III through C-V controlled medications can be communicated to the pharmacy in a more efficient and timely manner. …

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