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» The Agency for Healthcare Research
                                                    Consultants consider drug
and Quality released a tool to help nursing
homes assess safety, track changes in resi-
dent safety and evaluate the effectiveness of
safety interventions. The survey and other
                                                    rule a bitter pill to swallow
toolkit materials are available at http://
                                                    BY JOHN O’CONNOR                                                                                     among practitioners, she added.
www.ahrq.gov/qual/hospculture.
                                                    Several provider organizations                                                                         So far, most providers have
                                                    have panned a pending rule                                                                           not adopted e-prescribing tech-
» The Department of Health and Human                intended to place more restric-                                                                      nology. One reason: Operators




                                                                                                                                    Photo: iStockphoto
Services still does not have a system that          tions on e-prescriptions for con-                                                                    are reluctant to switch back and
addresses privacy-protection issues, accord-        trolled substances. The Drug                                                                         forth between e-prescribing for
ing to a report from the Government                 Enforcement Agency revealed                                                                          some drugs and paper prescrib-
Accountability Office. The department imple-        the long-awaited measure in late                                                                     ing for controlled substances.
mented several measures to address these            September.                            A proposed e-prescribing rule for con-                           The American Hospital As-
concerns following the release of a January            One group against the propos-      trolled substances is ill-suited to the                        sociation also has complained
2007 GAO report on the lack of privacy safe-        al is the American Society of         realities of long-term care, according                         about the rule, arguing that
guards in electronic health records. HHS fully      Consultant Pharmacists. The           to critics.                                                    legal-liability fallout could pre-
implemented a GAO recommendation to                 ASCP says the proposed rule is                                                                       vent providers from adopting
“identif[y] milestones and the entity responsi-     not compatible with existing            “We are disappointed, but                                    the new system.
ble for integrating the outcomes of its privacy-    pharmacy workflows and prac-          ready to roll up our sleeves and                                 The DEA controls more than
related initiatives,” but it fell short on imple-   tices and imposes considerable        work with DEA, CMS and other                                   300 medications, about 12% of
menting two other recommendations,                  new burdens and costs on phar-        stakeholders to craft a workable                               all drugs that are prescribed.
according to a report.                              macies and prescribers.               rule,” said Claudia Schlosberg,                                They include narcotics, stimu-
                                                       Moreover, the proposed rule        ASCP’s director of policy and                                  lants, depressants and steroids.
                                                    fails to consider the unique pre-     advocacy. Without the ability to                                 The Pharmaceutical Care
» The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid               scribing process that takes place     prescribe and dispense con-                                    Management Association was
Services has begun publishing most of the           in long-term care, hospice,           trolled substances using an e-                                 similarly critical.
“edits” that its claims processing software         home care and other non-hospi-        prescription system that is fully                                “It would create unnecessary
uses to detect Medicare Part B billing errors.      tal care settings—where the pre-      integrated into the workflow of                                burdens and workflow issues for
                                                    scriber and the patient may not       the healthcare setting, it 
								
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