PDMP Frequently Asked Questions

​1.     What is the Maryland Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP)?

 The Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) is a core component of Maryland’s comprehensive strategy for reducing prescription drug abuse throughout the State. Expanding provider access to and use of PDMP data is also a major goal of the Maryland Opioid Overdose Prevention Plan.
 
The PDMP was created to assist healthcare providers and public health and law enforcement agencies in reducing the non-medical use, abuse and diversion of prescription drugs while preserving the professional practice of healthcare providers and legitimate patient access to optimal pharmaceutical-assisted care. Healthcare providers are given electronic access to PDMP data in real-time, at the point-of-care to improve their ability to screen for substance use disorders and more effectively manage the treatment of patients receiving controlled dangerous substance (CDS) prescriptions.
 
The PDMP also assists federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, health occupations licensing boards and certain DHMH agencies in the investigation of illegal CDS diversion, healthcare fraud, illegitimate professional practice and other issues.
 
Lastly, PDMP data is a valuable tool for research into prescription drug abuse and addiction, trends in healthcare utilization and professional practice and a number of other important public health topics. The PDMP coordinates with government agencies, professional organizations and a wide array of stakeholders to make educational information available to healthcare providers and the general public.
 

2.     What does the PDMP do?

 The PDMP monitors the prescribing and dispensing of drugs that contain controlled dangerous substances (CDS). CDS dispensers, including pharmacies and healthcare practitioners, report information on Schedules II through V CDS dispensed to a patient or a patient’s agent in Maryland. This information is securely stored in an electronic database and is disclosed only to persons or agencies that are specifically authorized under State law. Data disclosure to healthcare providers and public health and law enforcement agency investigators is conducted through secure, web-based applications. The PDMP requires that these system users be authenticated and credentialed before they may submit requests for and receive PDMP data.
 

3.     Which prescription drugs are monitored?

The PDMP monitors only the prescribing and dispensing of drugs that contain Schedules II through V controlled dangerous substances (CDS). State and federal law define CDS as substances that have abuse potential. Drugs listed in CDS Schedules II, III, IV and V also have accepted medical uses. This includes opioid pain relievers like oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan, Roxicet), hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab) and methadone prescribed for pain; anti-anxiety and sedative medications like alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium); and stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin. The complete list of CDS in Maryland is found in Criminal Law Article, Title 5, Subtitle 4, Annotated Code of Maryland.
 

4.     What prescription information is reported to the PDMP?

 For each prescribed CDS drug that is dispensed in Maryland, the dispenser must report information for the:
  • Drug (Rx number, date Rx issued and filled, refill information, National Drug Code, quantity dispensed, days’ supply)
  • Patient for whom the drug was prescribed (name, address, gender, date of birth, ID number);
  • Prescriber (DEA registration number); and
  • Dispenser (DEA registration number).
 

5.     How often is prescription information reported?

CDS dispensers must report prescription information to the PDMP no later than three (3) business days after the drug was dispensed.
 

6.     Who can access prescription information?

 State law lists the individuals and entities that can request prescription data and specifically prohibits any other data disclosures from the program. Authorized requesters include:
 
  • Prescribers, including physicians, physicians assistants, nurse practitioners, dentists and podiatrists, in connection with the medical care of a patient. A prescriber may also identify one or more delegates to access prescription information on his or her behalf. Delegates include a non-prescribing licensed healthcare practitioner (i.e. a registered nurse or a licensed alcohol and drug abuse counselor) OR a staff member, regardless of any license status, who is employed by or under contract with the same practice as the prescriber.
  • Dispensers, in connection with the dispensing of a CDS prescription drug. A prescriber may also identify one or more delegates to access prescription information on his or her behalf. Delegates include a licensed healthcare practitioner (i.e. a pharmacy technician) OR a staff member, regardless of any license status, who is employed by or under contract with the same practice as the dispenser.
  • A federal, state or local law enforcement agency. Law enforcement investigators must be registered with the PDMP and submit data requests only for the purpose of furthering an existing investigation. All data requests must include a subpoena that meets the requirements specified in PDMP regulations (COMAR 10.47.07.04C).
  • A health occupations licensing board that licenses and regulates the practice of CDS prescribers and dispensers. Licensing board investigators must be registered with the PDMP and submit data requests only for the purpose of furthering an existing investigation. All data requests must include an administrative subpoena that meets the requirements specified in PDMP regulations (COMAR 10.47.07.04D). Practitioner rehabilitation programs that operate under the authority of a licensing board may also request prescription information by issuing an administrative subpoena.
  • DHMH agencies, including the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the Maryland Medical Assistance Program (Medicaid), the Office of the Inspector General, the Office of Health Care Quality and the Division of Drug Control. These agencies must have an existing investigation prior to submitting a data request.
  • Patients may submit a request to DHMH for a copy of their own prescription history.
  • Other states’ PDMPs. DHMH is working to establish interoperability with other programs so that prescribers and dispensers in Maryland can access data in other states’ PDMPs, and vice versa. It is expected that this functionality will be implemented in 2014.
  • The PDMP Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), composed of four medical practitioners and a pharmacist appointed by the DHMH Secretary. The TAC reviews requests for prescription information from investigators and other states’ PDMP and provides clinical guidance and interpretation of the data requested to the Department and the data recipient.
 
The PDMP also makes prescription data available for researchers, public education and reporting purposes. However, information that could identify a patient, prescriber, dispenser or any other individual is redacted before disclosure.
 
Prescription information obtained from the PDMP may only be re-disclosed by the original recipient to facilitate the treatment of a patient.
 

7.     Who is responsible for oversight and operation of the PDMP?

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), Behavioral Health Administration (BHA) is responsible for oversight of the PDMP. DHMH receives ongoing advice and consultation from the Advisory Board on Prescription Drug Monitoring​ on program design, implementation and development.
 
DHMH has partnered with Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients (CRISP) and Health Information Designs, LLC (HID) to provide information technology services for the PDMP. CRISP is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit membership corporation that has been designated by the Maryland Health Care Commission as the statewide health information exchange (HIE). Since its inception, CRISP has been fostering the adoption and innovative use of health information technology across Maryland. CRISP has successfully established connectivity to all of the acute care hospitals in the State and provides access to a substantial amount of clinical data for healthcare providers. CRISP has contracted with HID to support PDMP-specific IT services. HID’s RxSentry® is a web-based program that facilitates the collection, analysis, and disclosure of prescription information. 
 

8.     How can I register to request prescription information?

 Healthcare providers, including controlled dangerous substance (CDS) prescribers and dispensers, can reg​ister with CRISP​ to access prescription information through the health information exchange query portal.
 
Investigators with law enforcement, licensing boards and DHMH agencies will register with and submit data requests through Health Information Design’s RxSentry® application.
 

9.     How is the confidentiality of prescription information protected?

 State law holds that prescription data are confidential, privileged, not subject to discovery, subpoena, or other means of legal compulsion in civil litigation and are not public records. To deter misuse, unlawful access to or use of prescription data is punishable by up to one year in prison and a $10,000 fine. The PDMP logs system access and data requests submitted by all registered users and audits are conducted to detect potential violations. Individuals who believe that their prescription information may have been accessed or used inappropriately should contact the PDMP​.
 

10.  What is the legal authority for the PDMP?

 The PDMP is authorized under Health-General Article, Section 21-2A, Annotated Code of Maryland (Chapter 166, 2011). PDMP regulations can be found under Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 10.47.07.
 

11.  Do other states have a similar program?

 Almost every state in the country has a PDMP, though programs differ greatly from state to state. For more information, see the websites for PDMP-related organizations in our Links​ section.
 

12.  What was the Maryland PDMP's implementation timeline?

The Maryland PDMP is currently fully operational.  The program continues to expand registration and use by clinical and investigative users, and additional activities as allowed under Maryland law.
Below is the PDMP implementation timeline:
  
  • July 29, 2013:  Dispensers were able to register with Health Information Designs and create an online account to upload or report prescription data.
  • August 20, 2013:  Dispensers were required to begin submitting periodic reports to the PDMP as required by regulation (within 3 business days of dispensing a CDS prescription drug).
  • Late September, 2013:  A pilot group of prescribers and dispensers began accessing PDMP data throough the CRISP health information exchange query portal.
  • December 20, 2013:  CRISP opened general regis​t​ration​ ​for healthcare providers.
  • February 28, 2014:  The PDMP began processing data requests from law enforcement, licensing board and DHMH agency investigators.