In 2011 the White House issued a report called “Epidemic: Responding to America’s Prescription to America’s Prescription Drug Abuse Crisis“ which outlined the goals of the Obama administration in battling this problem:
PDMPs [Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs] can and should serve a multitude of functions, including: assisting in patient care, providing early warning of drug abuse epidemics (especially when combined with other data), evaluating interventions, and investigating drug diversion and insurance fraud. [emphasis added]
They set a goal to:
Expand upon DOJ’s pilot efforts to build PDMP interoperability across state lines, including leveraging state electronic health information exchange activities. Work to expand interstate data sharing among PDMPs through the Prescription Drug Information Exchange (PMIX).
In response, the Behavioral Health Coordinating Committee of the Department of Health and Human Services issued its own report, called “An Action Plan for Improving Access to Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Through Health Information.“
The ambition is to provide clinicians and pharmacists with real-time information about patient’s prescription drug histories from the PDMPs, which can reduce the risk of opioid-related drug abuse and deaths. The Action Plan encourages collaboration across federal, state and local governments, State HIT [Health Information Technology] Coordinators, State PDMP Administrators, providers, pharmacists, health care professionals’ associations, and vendors to pilot ways to improve access to PDMP data through the use of HIT.
Of course, this meshes nicely with the Affordable Care Act’s goals of standardizing electronic medical records.
What does any of this have to do with the gun-grabbing Feds? On Tuesday the New York State Assembly passed a controversial law restricting gun ownership, part of which included a mental illness section. The law “…will require mental health professionals, in the exercise of reasonable professional judgment, to report if an individual they are treating is likely to engage in conduct that will cause serious harm to him- or herself or others.”
While the N.Y. bill gives a great deal of latitude to mental health professionals, at least it limits the provision to “mental health professionals.”