Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
6/26/2022

Part III. Management of Chronic Pain

18VAC85-21-60. Evaluation of the chronic pain patient.

A. Prior to initiating management of chronic pain with a controlled substance containing an opioid, a medical history and physical examination, to include a mental status examination, shall be performed and documented in the medical record, including:

1. The nature and intensity of the pain;

2. Current and past treatments for pain;

3. Underlying or coexisting diseases or conditions;

4. The effect of the pain on physical and psychological function, quality of life, and activities of daily living;

5. Psychiatric, addiction, and substance misuse history of the patient and any family history of addiction or substance misuse;

6. A urine drug screen or serum medication level;

7. A query of the Prescription Monitoring Program as set forth in § 54.1-2522.1 of the Code of Virginia;

8. An assessment of the patient's history and risk of substance misuse; and

9. A request for prior applicable records.

B. Prior to initiating opioid treatment for chronic pain, the practitioner shall discuss with the patient the known risks and benefits of opioid therapy and the responsibilities of the patient during treatment to include securely storing the drug and properly disposing of any unwanted or unused drugs. The practitioner shall also discuss with the patient an exit strategy for the discontinuation of opioids in the event they are not effective.

Statutory Authority

§§ 54.1-2400 and 54.1-2928.2 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 34, Issue 23, eff. August 8, 2018.

18VAC85-21-70. Treatment of chronic pain with opioids.

A. Nonpharmacologic and non-opioid treatment for pain shall be given consideration prior to treatment with opioids.

B. In initiating and treating with an opioid, the practitioner shall:

1. Carefully consider and document in the medical record the reasons to exceed 50 MME per day;

2. Prior to exceeding 120 MME per day, the practitioner shall document in the medical record the reasonable justification for such doses or refer to or consult with a pain management specialist;

3. Prescribe naloxone for any patient when risk factors of prior overdose, substance misuse, doses in excess of 120 MME per day, or concomitant benzodiazepine are present; and

4. Document the rationale to continue opioid therapy every three months.

C. Buprenorphine mono-product in tablet form shall not be prescribed for chronic pain.

D. Due to a higher risk of fatal overdose when opioids, including buprenorphine, are given with other opioids, benzodiazepines, sedative hypnotics, carisoprodol, and tramadol (an atypical opioid), the prescriber shall only co-prescribe these substances when there are extenuating circumstances and shall document in the medical record a tapering plan to achieve the lowest possible effective doses of these medications if prescribed.

E. The practitioner (i) shall regularly evaluate the patient for opioid use disorder and (ii) shall initiate specific treatment for opioid use disorder, consult with an appropriate health care provider, or refer the patient for evaluation and treatment if indicated.

Statutory Authority

§§ 54.1-2400 and 54.1-2928.2 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 34, Issue 23, eff. August 8, 2018.

18VAC85-21-80. Treatment plan for chronic pain.

A. The medical record shall include a treatment plan that states measures to be used to determine progress in treatment, including pain relief and improved physical and psychosocial function, quality of life, and daily activities.

B. The treatment plan shall include further diagnostic evaluations and other treatment modalities or rehabilitation that may be necessary depending on the etiology of the pain and the extent to which the pain is associated with physical and psychosocial impairment.

C. The prescriber shall document in the medical record the presence or absence of any indicators for medication misuse or diversion and shall take appropriate action.

Statutory Authority

§§ 54.1-2400 and 54.1-2928.2 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 34, Issue 23, eff. August 8, 2018.

18VAC85-21-90. Informed consent and agreement for treatment for chronic pain.

A. The practitioner shall document in the medical record informed consent, to include risks, benefits, and alternative approaches, prior to the initiation of opioids for chronic pain.

B. There shall be a written treatment agreement signed by the patient in the medical record that addresses the parameters of treatment, including those behaviors that will result in referral to a higher level of care, cessation of treatment, or dismissal from care.

C. The treatment agreement shall include notice that the practitioner will query and receive reports from the Prescription Monitoring Program and permission for the practitioner to:

1. Obtain urine drug screens or serum medication levels when requested; and

2. Consult with other prescribers or dispensing pharmacists for the patient.

D. Expected outcomes shall be documented in the medical record including improvement in pain relief and function or simply in pain relief. Limitations and side effects of chronic opioid therapy shall be documented in the medical record.

Statutory Authority

§§ 54.1-2400 and 54.1-2928.2 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 34, Issue 23, eff. August 8, 2018.

18VAC85-21-100. Opioid therapy for chronic pain.

A. The practitioner shall review the course of pain treatment and any new information about the etiology of the pain and the patient's state of health at least every three months.

B. Continuation of treatment with opioids shall be supported by documentation of continued benefit from such prescribing. If the patient's progress is unsatisfactory, the practitioner shall assess the appropriateness of continued use of the current treatment plan and consider the use of other therapeutic modalities.

C. The practitioner shall check the Prescription Monitoring Program at least every three months after the initiation of treatment.

D. The practitioner shall order and review a urine drug screen or serum medication levels at the initiation of chronic pain management and thereafter randomly at the discretion of the practitioner but at least once a year.

E. The practitioner (i) shall regularly evaluate the patient for opioid use disorder and (ii) shall initiate specific treatment for opioid use disorder, consult with an appropriate health care provider, or refer the patient for evaluation for treatment if indicated.

Statutory Authority

§§ 54.1-2400 and 54.1-2928.2 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 34, Issue 23, eff. August 8, 2018.

18VAC85-21-110. Additional consultations.

A. When necessary to achieve treatment goals, the prescriber shall refer the patient for additional evaluation and treatment.

B. When a prescriber makes the diagnosis of opioid use disorder, treatment for opioid use disorder shall be initiated or the patient shall be referred for evaluation and treatment.

Statutory Authority

§§ 54.1-2400 and 54.1-2928.2 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 34, Issue 23, eff. August 8, 2018.

18VAC85-21-120. Medical records for chronic pain.

The prescriber shall keep current, accurate, and complete records in an accessible manner readily available for review to include:

1. The medical history and physical examination;

2. Past medical history;

3. Applicable records from prior treatment providers or any documentation of attempts to obtain those records;

4. Diagnostic, therapeutic, and laboratory results;

5. Evaluations and consultations;

6. Treatment goals;

7. Discussion of risks and benefits;

8. Informed consent and agreement for treatment;

9. Treatments;

10. Medications (including date, type, dosage, and quantity prescribed and refills);

11. Patient instructions; and

12. Periodic reviews.

Statutory Authority

§§ 54.1-2400 and 54.1-2928.2 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 34, Issue 23, eff. August 8, 2018.

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