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Board Approves More Opioid-Education Providers

Prescription drugs on a shelf
Daylina Miller/WUSF
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

A state medical board has agreed to add two more companies to the growing list of vendors authorized to offer a two-hour continuing education course on opioid prescribing. 

Members of the Board of Medicine on Friday agreed to add NetCe and The Doctor’s Company to the list of providers that can offer the mandated continuing-education course to Florida licensed prescribers, such as doctors and dentists.

Florida lawmakers last year passed sweeping changes to address the state’s opioid crisis. The new law put limits on prescriptions for opioids and required providers to check a statewide prescription-drug database before prescribing potentially addictive pain medications to patients.

It also required doctors and dentists to take the two-hour course by January 31. The Legislature required that the course be offered by a “statewide professional association of physicians that is accredited to provide educational activities.”

Some critics accused the Legislature of including the language to gain the Florida Medical Association’s support of the bill. But lawmakers never included a precise definition of statewide association, and the Board of Medicine has wrestled with the omission.

At the two-day meeting in Orlando this week, board member Jorge Lopez described the mandate as “half baked.” Meanwhile, a spate of companies claiming to represent physicians across the state have been approved to offer the course.

NetCe, which also sought to provide the course, was rejected at the board’s December meeting after a majority of the board decided the company wasn’t a statewide physician association. The company appealed the decision, but NetCe’s lawyer, Mia McKown, said her client will drop the challenge.

In addition to NetCe and The Doctors Company, the Florida Board of Medicine also has agreed to allow the Florida Medical Association, the Florida Academy of Family Physicians, the Florida College of Emergency Physicians, Baptist Health South Florida/Quality Network, InforMed, the Florida Psychiatric Society, the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association and the University of Florida to offer the course.

Department of Health officials said last week that about one in four Florida health care providers failed to take the two-hour continuing education course by the required Jan. 31 deadline.