10 Tips for Prescribing Controlled Substances

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , August 30, 2010

7. Purchase a home fax for after-hours and weekend calls.

8. In emergency situations, when you are unable to fax a script, or do not have a prescription pad available, call the pharmacist directly and provide him or her with the order, in addition to providing it to the nurse.

9. Don't give a verbal order to a nurse when you are onsite at a local facility. Instead, write the prescription when you are still in the facility and have it faxed to the pharmacy.

10. Become a local change agent by reaching out to local hospitals to educate staff so patients who require controlled substances are discharged with a hard copy prescription for several days' worth of their needed medication.  The prescription should specify the drug, but also say "or formulary equivalent."

The coalition is working with Congress and the DEA to allow nurses to act as the physician's agent, which the coalition described as "a long-standing practice." But, the groups said, "changing laws and regulations is a long and complex process, however, and our patients can not wait."

Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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