Regulation of Medicine

article

New Georgia Controlled Substances CME Requirement

By: Carrie Lowe, JD
Executive Summary

Georgia requires all physicians who have an active DEA certificate and prescribe controlled substances to complete a three-hour CME course focused on prescribing controlled substances. Additionally, all Georgia prescribers must be registered with the Georgia Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.   

Recommended Actions

Ensure that the physician & practice administrator maintain a current copy of the physician’s PDMP registration.

Ensure that your practice has a policy in place for complying with Georgia requirements to check the PDMP for certain prescriptions and in certain circumstances.

Ensure that everyone at your practice is aware of and complies with your practice’s policy regarding prescribing controlled substances.


Georgia physicians who have an active DEA certificate and prescribe controlled substances are now required to complete a three-hour CME course designed to specifically address prescribing controlled substance prescribing. The course includes:

  • Controlled substances prescribing guidelines
  • Recognizing the signs of use of abuse or misuse of controlled substances
  • Prescribing controlled substances for chronic pain management


This CME must be completed at the physician’s first renewal following licensure. Any controlled substance-prescribing coursework taken within two years of the physician’s last renewal will count toward this requirement. Completion of this requirement will count as three hours toward the CME requirement at license renewal.


Physicians who are subject to Rule 360-15-.01(3) (those who do not have a certification in pain manage or palliative medicine and whose patient population is comprised of 50% or more opioid pain management patients) are not subject to this requirement. Those physicians have a more stringent CME requirement.
Additionally, all Georgia prescribers are required to register with the Georgia Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). 

To register, please click here.  You will need to provide your:

  • Name and business address
  • Primary phone number
  • Last 4 digits of Social Security number
  • DEA number
  • NPI number
  • Professional license number and type
  • Health care specialty

For MagMutual’s quick reference guide to the new law, please click here.

For more information from the Georgia DPH, please click here. 


Lessons Learned

Ensure that every prescriber in your practice completes their required CME courses and is registered with the Georgia PDMP.

Ensure that your practice has policies and steps in place for recognizing the signs of use of abuse or misuse of controlled substances.

Ensure that all staff are trained regarding these policies and procedures.


Potential Damages: Failure to comply with either the CME course requirement or Georgia’s PDMP registration requirement can result in licensure renewal issues. Additionally, prescribing controlled substances without registering with Georgia’s PDMP can result in the provider facing serious disciplinary action. Consequences can range from hefty fines to restrictions or even suspensions to a provider’s license.

  
Quiz

Answers are provided below

True or false?

Question 1: I just need to have one hour of CME courses designed to address controlled substance prescribing.

Question 2: If the other physicians I work with are registered with Georgia’s PDMP, I don’t need to also register.

Question 3: Since I rarely prescribe controlled substances, the CME course requirement and PDMP registration requirement don’t apply to me.

Answers

Question 1: False. You need three hours of CME courses that are designed to specifically address controlled substance prescribing. 

Question 2: False. All Georgia prescribers with a DEA certificate who prescribe controlled substances are required to register with the Georgia Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. 

Question 3: False. Excluding physicians who are subject to Rule 360-15-.01(3), Georgia’s CME course requirement and PDMP registration requirement applies to all Georgia prescribers regardless of how often they prescribe controlled substances. 

09/21

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Disclaimer

The information provided in this resource does not constitute legal, medical or any other professional advice, nor does it establish a standard of care. This resource has been created as an aid to you in your practice. The ultimate decision on how to use the information provided rests solely with you, the PolicyOwner.