To provide patients with needed prescriptions, doctors and other medical practitioners must be issued a Drug Enforcement Administration number. The DEA provides a number so doctors can write prescriptions. This number is attached to all prescriptions to track and identify prescribing medical practitioners who issued the drugs and the patient’s prescription history for certain narcotics.
Unscrupulous individuals have certainly abused the DEA number to gain access to prescription drugs. We at Barton Law can help physicians and other medical practitioners find out how their DEA numbers may have been used, and help protect them against theft and identity fraud.
Barton Law’s knowledge and understanding of the state and federal tracking systems will ensure an accurate and up-to-date record of how your DEA number has been used and by whom.
It’s hard enough to protect your patients’ confidential information from security breaches. But an unauthorized use of the DEA number can put physicians and other medical practitioners at risk for criminal investigation and possible loss of their medical licenses.
Once stolen, a physician’s ID can amass hundreds of bogus prescriptions before anyone is the wiser. DEA number theft is rampant because of a national epidemic of controlled substance abuse.
At best, a physician ID theft victim has to deal with a government investigation to rule him or her out as a suspect. That can have severe financial and reputational effects. But if anyone else has access to your DEA number and uses it without your consent, such as your employees, you can be found liable for violations of the Controlled Substances Act — a criminal offense — or be stripped of your license or DEA privileges.
To curb this illegal activity, many medical billing services have issued alerts to the medical community. According to the “Medical Practice Compliance Alert” from Decision Health, a service company which provides regulatory and business needs to healthcare practitioners, DEA numbers are easy prey for ID thieves, and here’s why:
- the DEA numbers are listed on every page of a physician’s prescription pad; and
- DEA numbers can be found in electronic health records, which are vulnerable to snooping by rogue employees and cyber-attackers
Barton Law and other legal professionals suggest these ways to safeguard your provider numbers:
- Lock up prescription pads because they have the DEA number. Use pads with watermarks because they’re harder to replicate, and inventory pads regularly.
- Check your credit report for unusual behavior under your name. If your DEA number has been compromised, your personal data, such as your name and address needed to open a line of credit, also can be affected.
- Register with the Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program (CSPMP) and monitor your DEA number use through the database.
It is possible to monitor the use of your DEA number through the CSPMP. It is legally required in Arizona that all medical practitioners with a DEA number be registered through this program. This program also contains a controlled substance database for all prescribed drugs, listing the DEA number and patient information. But, who can you trust to review this information? Barton Law is happy to provide this service.
In Arizona, a new law requiring physicians to use the CSPMP database before prescribing certain controlled substances begins in October of 2017. The goal is to monitor for possible abuse of controlled substances or a physician’s DEA number by checking a patient’s prescription history before every new prescription. Now is the time to ensure that you have proper review procedures in place.