State CME Requirement Regarding Opiods

Gerald N. Yorioka, MD, SCMS President

There has been a little confusion regarding the Washington State requirement for CME to prescribe opiois, and particularly long-acting opioids for chronic pain.   The state website regarding this topic can be found here.

For M.D.s the requirement for prescribing opioids is completion of 12 hours within the past two years, as it is for ARNPs and podiatrists.  Osteopaths have a 3 year cycle requirement of 18 hours.

The requirement is for 12 hours of CME to  be exempt from the mandatory consultation requirement.  Of these 12 hours, 4 hours must be designated as dedicated towards long-acting opioid use.  Even for practitioners who do not prescribe long-acting or methadone, it is recommended that 4 hours (lifetime) be dedicated towards these medications.

The mandatory consultation requirement applies when a patient is being prescribed 120mg of “Morphine Equivalent Dose” (MED).  The state provides a calculator to convert other opioids to a MED.

At the federal level, there is the term REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies).  The FDA has identified REMS education to be made available for opioid, and other, types of medications.

These are requirements imposed on manufacturers, rather than on prescribers, and a list of specific medications can be found here.