State Board of Optometry: News


New Law Affects Colorado Prescribers, Limits Opioid Prescriptions

Note: The prescribing and dispensing Boards are reviewing Senate Bill 18-22 Clinical Practice for Opioid Prescribing, and considering its impact, if any, on the Guidelines for Prescribing and Dispensing Opioids. Please check back for updates.

On Monday, May 21, 2018, Governor John Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 18-22 Clinical Practice for Opioid Prescribing. The bill went into effect immediately upon the Governor’s signature. This new state law limits the number of opioid pills a healthcare provider can prescribe and affects physicians, physician assistants, advanced practice registered nurses with prescriptive authority, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists, and veterinarians.

Under the new law, a prescriber must limit a patient’s initial prescription of an opioid to a seven-day supply, if the prescriber has not written an opioid prescription for the patient in the last 12 months. The prescriber may exercise discretion in including a second fill for a seven-day supply. These limits do not apply, if, in the judgment of the prescriber, the patient:

  • Has chronic pain that typically lasts longer than 90 days or past the time of normal healing, as determined by the prescriber, or following transfer of care from another prescriber who prescribed an opioid to the patient;
  • Has been diagnosed with cancer and is experiencing cancer related pain; or
  • Is experiencing post-surgical pain, that, because of the nature of the procedure, is expected to last more than 14 days.
  • Is undergoing palliative care or hospice care focused on providing the patient with relief from symptoms, pain and stress resulting from a serious illness in order to improve quality of life. (This exemption is allowed for physicians, physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses only.)

After the first prescription, the prescriber is required to check the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) database before prescribing any additional opioids for the same patient. Failure to check the PDMP constitutes unprofessional conduct if the prescriber repeatedly fails to comply with this new requirement. The second fill requirement to check the PDMP does not apply when a patient:

  • Is receiving the opioid in a hospital, skilled nursing facility, residential facility, or correctional facility;
  • Has been diagnosed with cancer and is experiencing cancer related pain; or
  • Is undergoing palliative care or hospice care;
  • Is experiencing post-surgical pain, that, because of the nature of the procedure, is expected to last more than 14 days;
  • Is receiving treatment during a natural disaster or during an incident where mass casualties have taken place; or has received only a single dose to relieve pain for a single test or procedure.

After the second opioid prescription, the law has no further restrictions on the healthcare provider’s prescribing practices. The new law does require a healthcare provider, or the provider’s designee, to specify the provider’s specialty upon the initial query of the PDMP.  It also states a violation of the new requirements does not constitute negligence or contributory negligence per se and does not create a private right of action or serve as the basis of a cause of action.


Revised Opioid Guidelines

On March 16, 2018, the revised Guidelines for Prescribing and Dispensing Opioids were adopted by all six of Colorado’s prescribing and dispensing Boards: the Colorado Dental Board, the Colorado Medical Board, the State Board of Nursing, the State Board of Optometry, the Colorado Podiatry Board, and the State Board of Pharmacy, and endorsed by the State Board of Veterinary Medicine.

This revised Policy is a product of the collaboration between the seven Boards and a robust stakeholder engagement process. Stakeholder views, opinions and comments were essential in the revision of the 2014 Policy for Prescribing and Dispensing Opioids.

Visit the Opioid Guidelines webpage.


New PDMP Delegate Training Video

A new training video is now available to show prescribers and pharmacists how to set up delegate accounts for the PDMP.  Any prescriber or pharmacist can create up to three delegate accounts for trained individuals who can check the PDMP on the prescriber or pharmacist's behalf.  You can utilize the PDMP more frequently to get the most complete medical history possible.

View the video now or access it via the "New Delegate Training Video!" button on the PDMP homepage.


Changes to Disciplinary Procedures

On June 6, 2017, Governor John Hickenlooper signed House Bill 17-1165 (HB17-1165) Department of Regulatory Agencies Boards Disciplinary Action Resolution Process. The new law became effective upon the Governor’s signature on June 6, 2017, and modifies the disciplinary procedures for six healthcare boards (prescriber boards) within the Division of Professions and Occupations in the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). The prescriber boards affected include:

  • Colorado Dental Board;
  • Colorado Medical Board;
  • State Board of Nursing;
  • State Board of Optometry;
  • Colorado Podiatry Board; and
  • State Board of Veterinary Medicine.

As part of the bill’s implementation, we want to make sure you are aware of certain deadlines that affect the prescriber boards’ complaint processes and how you may need to respond to a board request. The following deadlines now apply unless a prescriber board has more protective provisions in current state law:

  • Within 15 days of receipt of a complaint, the boards must provide the complainant with a written notice that includes contact information for the board, a summary of the complaint process and the complainant's rights, including a patient's right to receive a copy of his or her patient records.
  • If relevant to a complaint, licensees must provide the board with patient records within 30 days of a board request for the records in the form of the response to a 30-day letter.
  • If an investigation was initiated as a result of a complaint, and the board took public, formal action, the board must provide the complainant with written notice of the action within 30 days of the action.
  • If a complaint is still pending after six months, the board must notify the complainant that the complaint is still pending, subject to applicable restrictions in state law.
  • Each prescriber board is required to update its website within 30 days after suspending or revoking a license, listing each licensee subject to the suspension or revocation separately.

Finally, insurance carriers must now update their participating provider lists every 30 days to remove providers whose licenses have been suspended or revoked.

These deadlines are now in effect as required by state law. If you have questions about the new requirement or any other aspect of House Bill 17-1165, please contact Jo Donlin at jo.donlin@state.co.us or 303-894-7434.


Mandatory Reporting Reminder

Did you know you are a mandatory reporter? Under Colorado law, more than 40 professions are required to report suspected child abuse and elder abuse. These professions include many regulated through the Division of Professions and Occupations (DPO) at DORA, such as:

  • Physicians (including physician assistants and physicians in training);
  • Podiatrists;
  • Dentists and dental hygienists;
  • Chiropractors;
  • Nurses (including registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and nurse practitioners);
  • Nursing home administrators;
  • Occupational therapists;
  • Optometrists;
  • Physical therapists;
  • Pharmacists;
  • Veterinarians;
  • Mental health professionals (including psychologists, social workers, professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, registered psychotherapists and all candidates for licensure);

Online trainings help mandatory reporters recognize and report abuse, neglect and exploitation. Licensees of the regulatory boards at DPO may accrue credit towards continuing education and continuing competency requirements for completing the trainings (should they exist for their profession).  

Section 19-3-304, C.R.S. outlines the persons required by law to report child abuse and/or neglect. To assist mandatory reporters, a training is available on the Colorado Department of Human Services website at http://coloradocwts.com/mandated-reporter-training.

Section 18-6.5-108, C.R.S outlines the persons required by law to report abuse and exploitation of at-risk elders and at-risk adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Further information and an online training can be found on the Colorado Department of Human Services website at http://www.coloradoaps.com/about-mandatory-reporting-update.html.  

If you have further questions regarding these requirements, please contact the Colorado Department of Human Services.

For questions regarding mandatory child abuse reporting, please contact the Office of Children, Youth, and Families’ Child Welfare Training System at 800-390-9619 or support@coloradocwts.com.

For questions regarding mandatory reporting of at-risk elders and at-risk adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, please contact the Office of Community Access and Independence’s Division of Aging and Adult Services at cdhs_aps_questions@state.co.us.


Important PDMP Updates

As we work together to tackle prescription drug misuse, abuse and diversion, we see PDMP utilization rates continue to increase as the database continues to serve as an important tool for meeting the standard of care for safe prescribing.

New Website

We are pleased to announce a new and improved PDMP website: colorado.gov/dora-pdmp. We listened to your challenges and ideas and hope you’ll find the new website easier to navigate and more relevant to your needs. You will be able to link to your PDMP account and access other information directly from the homepage. We also selected a new vendor, APPRISS, and will be utilizing the PMP AWARxE system. The database interface will look different and make PDMP queries easier and quicker. We encourage your continued feedback for ongoing improvement efforts.

New State Law Improves Access to PDMP

To make the PDMP more accessible and easier for health professionals to incorporate into daily use, the Colorado General Assembly passed legislation in 2017. On April 6, 2017, Governor John Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 17-146 Access To Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which clarifies health professionals' access to the PDMP database by:

  • Allowing a health care provider with prescribing authority to query the PDMP about a current patient, including checking on drug interactions and side effects, thus making the PDMP an even more useful tool for health professionals in their clinical decision-making for patients;
  • Allowing a veterinarian with prescribing authority to query the PDMP about a current client if the veterinarian has a reasonable basis to suspect the client has committed drug abuse or has mistreated an animal; and
  • Allowing a pharmacist to query the PDMP about a current patient for whom the pharmacist is dispensing any prescription drug, rather than only patients receiving controlled substances.

The law became effective immediately, and the Division is working with the appropriate Boards to implement the new law including rulemaking, outreach and education. If you have questions about the Colorado PDMP, please contact Division staff at 303-894-5957 or pdmpinqr@state.co.us. If you need technical assistance with the PMP AWARxE system, please contact the vendor help desk at 1-855-263-6403.


Free Access to PainNET System for Colorado Providers

The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) has worked with the vendor of its Project ECHO Pain Management Program, Community Health Center, to expand access to the program website known as PainNET.

The PainNet website is an online learning community that aims to improve pain care expertise among primary care providers. The website is also now available to other Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid Program) primary care medical providers (PCMPs) for free.

The PainNET learning community enables PCMPs to develop expertise to treat patients with complex chronic pain through a combination of archived Project ECHO Pain case presentations, resource libraries, community forums and expert consultations. Providers and specialists are able to communicate through discussion boards, chat rooms and direct messaging.

This is a great resource for Colorado providers to access resources that can increase their knowledge on how to manage chronic pain more effectively.

Learn More About PainNET