How can you protect your DEA Number?
Identifiers for physicians, such as DEA numbers, allow them to prescribe controlled substances to the patients they serve. Further, abusers easily find these numbers on prescriptions pads which creates potential for theft. If someone steals your DEA number, what steps need to be taken, and what preventative methods are available?
Reporting Theft of DEA Number or Medication:
Reporting the occurrence of DEA number theft of medication to your county’s local sheriff is mandated within the first 24 hours of discovery using DEA form 106 . If you fail to comply within this time frame, you face potential for a second degree misdemeanor. Some suggest that physicians who fall victim of DEA number theft or theft of medications to press charges against the person who committed the crime; however, this is not required. Filing charges against the perpetrator suggests that a physician unknowingly became a part of the violation. On the other hand, taking matters to the courts places the offense on the perpetrators record for any future employers or doctors to see.
Also, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) requires physicians report theft of medication to the DEA within one business day of discovery. To determine the significance of the specific loss, the DEA provides these identifiers:
(1) The actual quantity of controlled substances lost in relation to the type of business;
(2) The specific controlled substances lost;
(3) Whether the loss of the controlled substances can be associated with access to those controlled substances by specific individuals, or whether the loss can be attributed to unique activities that may take place involving the controlled substances;
(4) A pattern of losses over a specific time period, whether the losses appear to be random, and the results of efforts taken to resolve the losses; and, if known,
(5) Whether the specific controlled substances are likely candidates for diversion;
(6) Local trends and other indicators of the diversion potential of the missing controlled substance.
The list above is not exhaustive but anyone registered with the DEA must complete this once theft is detected. Additionally, for providers that have their DEA number stolen, they will need to contact the association that granted their license to practice. The action taken from there will be determined by that licensing board, however, it is likely that they will ask you to file a complaint so an investigation can be completed. It is imperative that providers remain candid in their responses and throughout this process.
Preventing DEA Number and Medication Theft:
What options emerge when thinking of preventing prescription pad abuse or medication theft? Adding an additional service, creating inter-office quarterly tasks to monitor controlled substances, eliminating prescription pad use entirely, and other small preventative changes in your office contribute to eliminating the possibility for abuse. Safeguard your office against DEA number theft with these four ways…
- MicroMD EPCS Gold, a DEA certified framework integrated with the secure reliable Surescripts eRx transmission network, saves your practice from manual entry and protects you from fraud. Notably, this solution allows submission of electronic prescriptions of Schedule II through V substances to your patients.
- Locking down medications at your office seems like the obvious solution but we all know that this isn’t infalible. Employ other security measures like alarms, cameras, personalized key codes, and more to ensure that only those who should have access, have access.
- Perform thorough background checks on the employees that you hire at your practice. The individuals most likely to steal your DEA number work within your team – secure your practice from this by hiring trustworthy and reliable personnel.
- Complete internal audits regularly on controlled substances at your practice – ensure that only prescriptions that should leave the office are leaving the office, and address problems as they arise.
- Use prescriptions pads without DEA numbers on them, or invest in tamper-resistant prescription pads.
As a society, we are all moving towards more holistic ways to treat ailments, when possible, that don’t require opioid treatment. This not only helps us to better treat our patients but move towards a less dependent society.
For more information on MicroMD’s Solutions, MicroMD ePrescribing, and how EPCS GOLD helps prevents DEA number theft, visit micromd.com or call 1-800-624-8832.
About the author,
Savanna is the Marketing Communication Specialist at Henry Schein MicroMD. She schedules emails to clients, prospects, and VARs, manages social media accounts, performs research, writes blogs and eBooks, and much more while helping to support the simple yet powerful MicroMD solutions.
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