DEA Announces Policy Change Recognizing LTC Nurses as Agents of the Prescriber | I Advance Senior Care Skip to content Skip to navigation

DEA Announces Policy Change Recognizing LTC Nurses as Agents of the Prescriber

October 8, 2010
by root
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The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced internal policy changes that will now recognize nurses who work in long-term care facilities as agents of physicians who prescribe certain medications regulated under the Controlled Substances Act. Oral prescriptions for some painkillers and anti-anxiety medications may now be phoned in by long-term care nurses with authorization from a physician.

Published in the Federal Register, the policy reiterates DEA’s definition of an agency relationship as it pertains to a practitioner and those duties that can be delegated to another individual. The notice expands upon DEA’s expectations for establishing agency through a series of recommendations, including establishing written agreements between practitioners and nurses who wish to establish an agency relationship. Once an agency relationship is established, a nurse at a long-term care facility acting as the agent of a prescribing practitioner may communicate to a pharmacy prescription orders for Schedule C-III, C-IV, and C-V medications.

“By allowing the long-term care nurse to serve as an agent of the prescribing physician, orders for C-III through C-V controlled medications can be communicated to the pharmacy in a more efficient and timely manner,” said Albert Barber, president-elect of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP). “Patients will now be at a much lower risk of encountering delays for medications to alleviate their pain.”

This update follows a change in DEA enforcement policy within the last 18 months, which led to increased enforcement activities in long-term care facilities.

Read more

Agency Acts to Ease Delay of Pills for Elderly

Tip Sheet Offers Guidance on Prescribing Controlled Substances in Long-Term Care (PDF)

The Quality Care Coalition for Patients in Pain study “How U.S. DEA Rules Harm Patients in Nursing Facilities” (PDF)



Thanks to the people responsible for this bit of common sense.