Opioid Prescribing - Continuing Education Requirements for ARNPs
According to 655 IAC, 7.6(8): An ARNP who has prescribed opioids to a patient during the renewal cycle is required to complete a minimum of two contact hours of continuing education (CE) regarding the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guideline for prescribing opioids for chronic pain, including recommendations on limitations on dosages and the length of prescriptions, risk factors for abuse, and nonopioid and nonpharmacologic therapy options, as a condition of license renewal every three years. The ARNP shall maintain documentation of the opioid CE hours, which may be subject to audit.
On the ARNP license renewal form, the licensee will see these questions:
- Do you prescribe opioids in the course of your ARNP practice? Yes or No
- Have you completed the 2 contact hours on the CDC guidelines as described above? Yes, No, or N/A
- If you answered "yes" to the prescribing question, documentation of these hours is required to complete your renewal.
ARNPs who do not prescribe per the below definition are not required to take the course.
Prescribing is defined as follows: To issue a prescription to a patient, which is then dispensed at a pharmacy.
In order to renew a license, ARNPs who prescribe opioids must send in their proof of opioid prescribing continuing education along with their current certification document for their practice role. At renewal, documents should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
See this announcement, previously sent to ARNPs on 1/31/2019 to review the CDC guidelines:
The prescribing of opioids is a common practice in healthcare today. "In 2017, almost 57 million American patients had a least one prescription for opioids filled or refilled" (CDC, retrieved from https://cdc.gov). In an effort to assist prescribers with safe prescribing practices, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. Additionally, an interactive online training series is available for healthcare providers to better understand the prescribing recommendations.
Legislation enacted in 2018, found under Iowa Code 272C.2C requires a prescriber to receive continuing education credits according to the CDC guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain. The Board of Nursing strongly encourages ARNPs to consider the training available on the CDC website.
"This interactive online training series aims to help healthcare providers apply CDC’s recommendations in clinical settings through patient scenarios, videos, knowledge checks, tips, and resources. Providers can gain a better understanding of the recommendations, the risks and benefits of prescription opioids, nonopioid treatment options, patient communication, and risk mitigation. Each stand-alone module is self-paced and offers free continuing education credit" (CDC website, Interactive Training Series). The Board of Nursing strongly encourages ARNPs to consider the training available on the CDC website.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. Who has to take the opioid continuing education?
A. If you prescribe opioids, you have to take a course.
Q. I work in a hospital and write orders for opioids. Do I need to take a class?
A. No, writing orders does not meet the definition of prescribing.
Q. I am a pediatric nurse practitioner and I prescribe opioids. Do I have to take the course?
A. Yes, you need to take a course which includes the CDC guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain including all the recommendations on limitations on dosages and the length of prescriptions, risk factors for abuse, and nonopioid and nonpharmacologic therapy options.
Q. What is the best way to meet the requirement of the law?
A. Take at least two hours of the CDC course on prescribing opioids for chronic pain.
Q. What if I have taken other coursework or attended another CE event that I think meets the guidelines?
A. Submit the certificate of completion and the syllabus that includes proof the course includes the CDC guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain including the recommendations on limitations on dosages and the length of prescriptions, risk factors for abuse, and nonopioid and nonpharmacologic therapy options.
Q. Where do I find the CDC training?
A. The CDC information about the opioid training course may be found at this site: Interactive Training Series