JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — After extensive debate among Senate Republicans, a bill seeking to create a statewide prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) was perfected.
Sen. Holly Rehder’s SB 63 would establish the Joint Oversight Task Force of Prescription Drug Monitoring within the Office of Administration, creating a statewide PDMP. The task force would work with a vendor after a competitive bid to collect and maintain patient data, which would be deleted after three years. The bill was perfected after more than six hours of debate.
“PDMP is a tool for medical professionals,” Rehder said. “It’s used for the same reasons as other electronic medical records — patient safety, medical prescribing practices, and overall allowing the medical professional to understand their patients’ history. It also allows providers to see concerning trends in patents’ narcotics history.”
Amendments added on the floor included one extending the sunset on the RX Cares for Missouri program, which allows the disposal of unwanted drugs, through 2026; another would subject the task force to Missouri’s Sunshine Law.
Rehder sparred with Sen. Mike Moon over the first hour of the debate; Moon voiced concerns over Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations, possible data leaks, and the possibility that the current PDMP operating in St. Louis County could sell patient data, a concern he felt could carry over to a statewide iteration if it were passed.
“If they’re going to prepare for sale and distribution and are communicating to a third party, our data may not be as safe as what we expected,” Moon said. “It appears that they would be able to do whatever they wanted to with that because the state would be agreeing with these terms.”
After holding court for more than two hours, Moon sent forward an amendment that would have eliminated the St. Louis County version and remove PDMPs from Missouri overall; it was voted down shortly after its proposal. Other failed amendments would have exempted drugs administered during emergency situations or if the patient had a terminal illness while another would have exempted medications prescribed for chronic pain.
Other GOP members, including President Pro Tem Dave Schatz and last year’s Senate handler, Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, backed the bill on the floor.
The bill would also restrict the database from being used by agencies that can prevent Missourians from owning firearms or to establish probable cause for a criminal investigation. Individuals disclosing information for illegal purposes would face a class E felony charge.
Missouri is the only state not to have a statewide PDMP; St. Louis County has its own version, with various communities across the state participating.
Rehder sponsored the effort yearly during her tenure in the House, with last year’s attempt laid over on the final day of session after stalling in the Senate. The Conservative Caucus, of which Moon is now a member, has been an opponent of the legislation.
Cameron Gerber studied journalism at Lincoln University. Prior to Lincoln, he earned an associate’s degree from State Fair Community College. Cameron is a native of Eldon, Missouri.
Contact Cameron at firstname.lastname@example.org.