The Texas Department of Public Safety regulates prescription permits for Controlled Substances – the right to prescribe medicines – for doctors, dentists, advanced practice nurses, pharmacists, and veterinarians. (That ‘script for Oxycontin has the line, “Patient or pet owner’s name.) The unofficial rumor is that the cuts in their Department because of the tight State budget caused a manpower shortage. Knowing that there would be less staff, the Department chose that moment to initiate a new, complicated software system. Those who were not laid off or re-assigned had to learn the new input and verification system at the busiest time of year. With fewer people and more work, they’ve gotten way behind in issuing the pieces of paper. The powers that be refuse to give extensions to those who have paid, are in the system, and who should have received those little pieces of paper by the last day of July.
The Texas DPS permits are redundant in light of the fact that the Federal government also issues prescriber permits through the Drug Enforcement Agency. This latter number is what most pharmacies ask for, along with our State license number. While Texas requires re-credentialing each year, the DEA permits are valid for five years.
Since most docs in Texas qualified for their first DPS permit at the end of their internship (with the permits issued July 31), there’s no telling how many prescribers will lose their ability to treat patients with antibiotics, blood pressure and diabetes medications, or Botox unless we can find some doc whose renewal is due at a later date and who is willing to co-sign. Oh, and of course, they have decreed that we can’t prescribe narcotics and other truly controlled substances under any circumstances.
Another giant bureaucracy stumbles once again, putting the process first, complicating the practice of medicine and endangering patients. The stifling regulations and paper pushing is frustrating!