Tennessee Medical Association Leads Physician Education on New Opioid Laws

New Online Resource Center Latest in TMA’s Ongoing Efforts to Protect Doctors and Patients

June 6, 2018

The Tennessee Medical Association, the state’s largest professional organization for doctors, has launched an online resource center to give physicians and other healthcare providers tools to help fight the state’s opioid abuse epidemic, including detailed information on new state laws limiting opioid prescriptions.

The Tennessee General Assembly recently passed the most comprehensive and restrictive law in the U.S. regulating initial opioid supply. Effective July 1, 2018, physicians and other prescribers must adhere to new limits and specific requirements for opioid prescribing.

TMA has developed proprietary tools at tnmed.org/opioids to educate doctors on the new law and help members stay compliant. The online resource center features guidelines, videos and a proprietary infographic that visually walks doctors through prescribing under different patient scenarios.

“Our members are confused and anxious about how the new laws will affect their day-to-day practice and, most importantly, their patients, some of whom depend on these medications as part of pain management. Some doctors may not even be aware of the changes to come July 1. We want physicians to look to TMA for accurate, authoritative information on the new prescribing restrictions so they can stay compliant and hopefully still give patients effective pain therapies,” said Matthew L. Mancini, a Knoxville surgeon and TMA President.

TMA expressed concerns about Governor Haslam’s “TN Together” plan and actively worked with lawmakers to ensure that any related laws did not interfere with physicians’ appropriate medical discretion or obstruct patients in legitimate pain from getting the care they need. TMA was able to negotiate important amendments to improve the governor’s proposal but the new law still represents the most comprehensive and restrictive opioid laws of any state.

For the past several years TMA has led statewide efforts to promote safe and proper prescribing through public policies and provider education. TMA was the catalyst to changing the prescribing educational requirements for Tennessee physicians and has delivered safety courses to more than 5,500 prescribers since 2012.

TMA physician members helped develop Tennessee’s opioid prescribing guidelines and continually promote adherence to CDC chronic pain guidelines. The organization lobbied for passage of the Prescription Safety Act in 2012, and important changes to related legislation that passed in 2014, to help reduce Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, and was among the first state medical society in the U.S. to support mandated controlled substance database lookups by prescribers.

Visit tnmed.org/opioids for more information.