North Carolina Medical Board to define "consultation" as it relates to the STOP Act

2017-07-24 | July 24, 2017

After a discussion on the STOP Act at the North Carolina Medical Board's Advanced Practice Provider/Allied Health Committee meeting last Thursday, the Board announced the following:

"The Board has directed NCMB staff to formally define what type of contact must occur between a physician assistant (PA) and a supervising physician in order to be considered a “consultation” for the purpose of complying with the state’s new opioids law.

The Strengthen Opioid Misuse Prevention (STOP) Act of 2017 requires that PAs and nurse practitioners (NPs) practicing in pain clinics “consult” with their supervisors before prescribing any Schedule II or Schedule III opioid or narcotic. This provision took effect July 1, 2017. NCMB has received numerous calls and emails from licensees seeking guidance on how best to comply.

At its July meeting, the Board directed staff to develop a written definition for consultation that will provide clear parameters to licensees who are subject to the new requirement. Staff will present draft language for consideration by the Board at the meeting scheduled Sept. 20-22.

In the meantime, NCMB has provided the following answer to questions about consultation:

“The Board has not yet determined this. An important consideration is whether a meaningful consultation about the patient and the recommended treatment occurs and is documented in the patient record. The Board might ultimately leave it to the discretion of PAs, NPs and their supervising physicians to determine how consultations occur (e.g. in person, via telephone or other electronic means).”"