Physician Dispensing Laws by State - ProficientRx

Physician Dispensing Laws by State: What Your Practice Should Know

As a medical practice, it’s important to understand the different physician dispensing laws by state; here is what you should know.

Physician dispensing can be a little complicated to implement without the help of an experienced partner. There are a few requirements to consider, as well as state-specific laws and registrations.

For healthcare practitioners who can make the most of it, a physician dispensing service can be a massive boon for their reputation and bottom line. Practices that implement point-of-care dispensing can make their patients’ lives easier while enjoying an additional source of income. In addition, prescriptions of controlled substances may need to be filed electronically in the near future, which can be significantly simplified through a comprehensive prescribing and dispensing system.

But before you begin integrating an in office dispensing program into your practice, learn what physician dispensing laws by state and requirements you might have to meet first.

Physician Dispensing Laws by State

While physician dispensing is allowed in most states (either in a limited sense or within a broader scope), there are still states that prohibit it. In some states, physicians can dispense medication freely without additional registration unless it is a controlled substance (which may require additional paperwork and licensing).

Each state has its own Board of Pharmacy, as well as specific physician dispensing laws by state. Some states require additional registration before a physician may dispense controlled substances from their practice. This registration is separate from the DEA number every prescribing healthcare professional must have.

Some states further limit what medications a physician may stock and how much they are allowed to stock. There are also state-specific rules and regulations regarding exceptions to the rule, wherein a physician may dispense life-saving medication or a certain amount of pain meds. In some states, only the physician may personally hand out/dispense prescribed medication (meaning a nurse or assistant cannot hand it out, even with the doctor’s permission or supervision).

Understanding State-Specific Laws

A detailed overview of physician dispensing laws by state may be helpful, but keep in mind that these laws are subject to change, particularly during a pandemic. It is in your best interest to review your state’s own legislation and contact your Board of Pharmacy for additional information.

Federal law also plays a role in physician dispensing, namely the Controlled Substances Act. The DEA provides additional information on the Controlled Substances Act for healthcare practitioners. All physicians must comply with state-specific implementation of the federal Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which was developed and intensified due to the ongoing opioid epidemic.

Confused about whether you’re allowed to dispense medications from your office or want to know what you need to get started? Then, visit your Board of Pharmacy and get in touch with us at ProficientRx.com.

Benefits of Physician Dispensing 

When implemented correctly, a direct dispensing or physician dispensing program can:

  • Help patients save time.
  • Cut out the trip to the pharmacy.
  • Reduce time staff spend on coordinating with pharmacies.
  • Reduce patient waiting times.
  • Enable in-house tracking of patient medication history and schedule follow-ups.
  • Reduce potential medication errors from misread prescriptions.
  • Increase patient adherence by making it more convenient to refill prescriptions.
  • And more.

1. Improved Patient Satisfaction

Patient convenience and patient satisfaction are far more than simple vanity statistics. Surprising surveys show that many patients care more about convenient healthcare services than healthcare quality – and while healthcare professionals have a moral obligation to offer the greatest care available, it is useful to understand just how much patients value their time.

Satisfied patients become returning patients and referring patients. They can increase your patient base and allow you to provide better care to an increasing portion of the community. Better patient convenience and satisfaction also translates into a stronger patient-doctor relationship, which certainly plays a role in the effectiveness of care by improving medication and treatment adherence.

2. Better Bottom Line

Direct physician dispensing adds to your practice’s value proposition and provides an additional source of income. Do not underestimate the value of retaining and gaining new patients through an additional service, as well as an improved reputation.

3. Improved Patient Adherence

Medication and treatment adherence are critical issues, especially in patients with chronic health issues. Drastically cutting down on the time they need to spend procuring medication by providing direct dispensing services can help you ensure that your more frequent patients can stick to their medication plan.

You can also directly coordinate with them to find affordable alternatives if they cannot afford their current medication and monitor their adherence more closely.

How Proficient Rx Can Help     

Our services are designed to help practitioners of the healing arts begin dispensing medication in-house as simply and as quickly as possible.

As physician dispensing continues to grow in popularity, both in response to the demand for better access to care during the coronavirus pandemic, and due to the benefits afforded to both patients and healthcare practitioners through physician dispensing, it becomes increasingly important to offer a direct path towards implementing point-of-care dispensing for practices and physicians with no place to start.  

Proficient Rx specializes in easy-to-use, turnkey web-based dispensing systems that help physicians keep track of inventory and dispensing histories, provide e-prescriptions, print customized and legible labels, and easily follow up on patients with recent prescriptions.

Meanwhile, we also help our clients offer telehealth services to their existing and expanding patient base, as well as a growing number of repackaged drugs, both branded and generic, prescription-only and over-the-counter.

As patients continue to look towards the healthcare industry and expect continued improvements in both convenience and price, technology-based solutions such as modern telehealth software, secure e-prescriptions, and a HIPAA-approved inventory and dispensing system can help healthcare practitioners around the country cut down on time wasted and unnecessary costs, while improving their practice’s value proposition, and helping patients refer to a single location for most of their healthcare needs.