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Meeting Information





Call in Number

USA +1-203-418-3123



Attending: Francis Kwakwa, Chair; Jennifer Baumgartner, Jemma Contreras, Stephanie Cordato, Jennifer Dunleavy, Lisa Fennell, Brad Hill, Ed Kennedy, Linda Kitlinski, Joanna Krause, Jack Kues, Leah Larue, Adam Martin, Stephanie Mercado, Raj Patel, Nikki Reyes, Valerie Smothers, Lorraine Spencer, Brian Sullivan, John Sweeney, Dimitra Travlos, John West, and Julie White 

Agenda Items

  1. Review minutes of last call

Francis corrected the typographical errors.  The minutes were accepted as submitted. 

     2.  Review updates to implementation guidelines

Valerie began the discussion on updates to the implementation guidelines by saying there were very few edits made as a result of the poll. The first update was on page ten. There is a new activity identifier provided by the CE provider that may be included in the data set.  The Activity Identifier provided by the CE provider will help to eliminate double-counting of data for activities offered for multiple types of credit.  The example shows how to include the identifier in XML.  Some comments from the poll suggested if this isn’t required it would be problematic.  Francis asked the group whether anyone had any comments on this.  With no comments, Valerie continued.  She noted right now the language in the implementation guidelines indicate that it is optional; an identifier may be included in the data set.  Valerie commented it is ideal to have it there but we probably can’t insist on that.  The group agreed to leave the current language as is. 

There were also changes made to change 14 regarding practice type data. The guidelines now include language to allow or instruct participants to choose the practice type that best describes their practice (one response only). They also indicate that providers should Present the question on practice type only to those learners who are prescribers and are from one of the following professions:

  • Physician
  • Advanced practice nurse
  • Dentist
  • Physician assistant

She asked if anyone had concerns about that.  Jack asked if they don’t fall into those categories we are not gathering data on them?  Valerie answered we would not gather practice type data. It didn’t fit podiatrists or pharmacists. 

Jennifer Baumgartner updated the group on their findings regarding pharmacists.  There are a  of couple of states, New Mexico and North Carolina, that have a small number of pharmacist who do hold DEA licenses to prescribe controlled substances.  A handful of pharmacists in each state would meet the definition of prescriber. For those pharmacist prescribers, practice type data may make sense.  Valerie asked if they should they be included in practice type?  Valerie clarified the suggestion is to change the second bullet to add pharmacist.  Jennifer commented if you are a pharmacist who is prescribing you would identify your practice type. 

Valerie asked the group what others think.  Julie from Boston University commented that they just had their launch on March 1st, and it would be very costly to reprogram the survey.  Jennifer commented that she wants to make sure all prescribers are getting picked up; however, given the denominator is very small, she doesn’t see it as a necessity.  Valerie clarified that pharmacists would be asked about their status as prescribers.  They would not be asked the practice type question. 

Julie asked Jennifer how prescribing pharmacist would identify themselves: as primary care, pain specialists or non-pain specialists.  Jennifer thought they would not identify themselves as primary care, only non-pain or pain specialists.  Out of 300,000 pharmacists only fifteen to twenty in two states would meet the definition of prescriber.  Francis didn’t think we would be losing a whole lot if we kept it the way it is.  Valerie asked if Doris from the FDA was on the line.  She was not.  Valerie was interested in getting her thoughts.  Valerie asked if anybody else has launched. The California Academy of Family Physicians has, but they were not represented today.  

Francis asked if there was agreement to keep it this way, and Julie stated that would be her vote.  Jack mentioned it is not a perfect situation, but we do need to consider the people who have already gotten started.  He suggested trying it and then re-visiting after a while. 

John Sweeney mentioned in the next section 3.4.1 of the implementation guideline, the word active is used to describe prescribers, and it’s not clear what distinguishes that.  Valerie commented there is no distinction; in fact it is probably better to take out the word active and just say prescribers. John agreed. Valerie agreed to make that change.   

Valerie commented that the change noted regarding post-course assessment doesn’t apply to the implementation guidelines, only to the specification, which we are in the process of updating.  The change will be made in the revised implementation. 

Francis asked Linda if we are still waiting to hear from accreditors.  Linda noted they had asked folks to respond by last Friday.  There are a lot of pieces for them to look at and also accreditors wanted to talk amongst themselves.  We are waiting to hear back from two more. By Wednesday we will send a follow-up message to those two to see if they have any issues left, so they can provide the working group with the status and move things forward. 

    3.  Discuss current implementation concerns and questions

Valerie asked Julie if they had run into any problems since the launch.  Joanna commented there were little mechanical glitches that were occurring. Otherwise, everything is going fine.  Francis thought that was great.  Julie mentioned that there was interest in convening via telephone those who already started activities to discuss best practices and reduce the learning curve.  Julie commented it can only help. There are concerns about people unwilling to share prescribing history; an explanation is on their website.  They provided a link to explain what MEMS is all about.  A lot of physicians don’t know what it is.  She commented that the information may be helpful for the implementation guidelines.  Valerie agreed.  She asked Linda if that was something that was being scheduled. Linda commented they wanted to make sure no one from the RPC was driving the ship.  Campbell can provide the tele-bridge or facilitate that.  She asked in terms of logistics, is it appropriate to reach out to Stephanie Cordato, or Brad.  Stephanie Cordato agreed to take any questions or provide any help they can. 

Valerie added that Julie, Kate Regnier, and Linda will be presenting a case study on REMS CE at the MedBiq conference coming up on April 9th.  Valerie encouraged everyone to come to the session. They will talk about the history and genesis of this project and what they are doing in their organizations to implement so we can gather data across the CE industry.  Any chiming in from audience would be helpful Linda said.  Francis asked if the presentation would be available after the conference.  Valerie noted the material will be available on our website after the meeting. 

Francis asked about other updates. Linda replied that as we hear back from accreditors, we are passing inform on to Polaris, the 3rd party data aggregator. They are going to be reaching out to accreditors to make sure the system meets their needs. Raj will be facilitating those meetings, and will review the data fields and data transfer processes. 

Julie asked Valerie what is the next step?  Valerie commented the main task is done.  We will continue to meet, but it won’t be as frequently.  We have another call scheduled in two weeks from now to see how everything is going; we can have a revised, cosmetically enhanced specification to review, and we can finalize implementation guidelines.  After that we will meet on a quarterly basis. She hesitates sending the specification to the Standards Committee too soon.  If there are questions and problems that arise we need to be able to fix them. We can send the specification to the Standards Committee for balloting in a few months time.  We have another call scheduled for March 26th; if we don’t think it’s helpful we can cancel the call and just have quarterly teleconferences. 

Julie asked Linda when California Academy was implementing.  She answered tomorrow is the first live session. The online portion goes live in August.  Linda commented they staggered live activities.  Having a call in two weeks would be good time for an implementation update.  Valerie will get in touch with Cynthia, Tom and Amy and verify they can participate on the next call and provide feedback to the group. 

Linda mentioned they are in the process of working with providers to lock in activity dates and then sending letters of agreement. There will be a searchable listing of ER/LA opioid REMS training where clinicians can search and see what options are available to them.   Valerie told everybody to keep up the great work!  

  1. Open discussion


Action Items

  • Valerie will remove the word active from section 3.4.1 of the implementation guidelines.
  • Valerie will complete updates (mostly cosmetic) to the specification.
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