Monday, Jan 14, 2019
TDIC’s informed consent form helps dentists follow law when prescribing opioids to minors
Reprinted with permission from California Dental Association
The Dentists Insurance Company has developed a resource to help prescribers follow a new requirement when prescribing Schedule II drugs to minors.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, before a prescriber issues the first prescription for a controlled substance containing an opioid, the prescriber must discuss specific information with the minor or the minor’s parent or guardian as required by Senate Bill 1109 signed into law last September. The new form from TDIC, “Consent to Prescribe an Opioid to a Minor,” covers the following required discussion items:
- The risks of addiction and overdose associated with the use of opioids
- The increased risk of opioid addiction to individuals who are suffering from both mental and substance-abuse disorders
- The danger of taking an opioid with central-nervous-system depressants including alcohol and benzodiazepines
Available in English and Spanish, the downloadable consent form provides background on the new California law, a section for listed medications and doses, “facts for consideration” for the minor’s parent or guardian to read and sign, as well as a place for the prescriber to certify the discussion took place.
Most professional liability claims include an allegation of a lack of informed consent, according to TDIC Risk Management Analyst Taiba Solaiman.
“Patients argue they would have made a different treatment decision had they known of the possibility of a negative outcome,” Solaiman said, adding that informed consent is a discussion between the dentist and patient during which the dentist — not just staff — educates the patient about the diagnosis, nature of the treatment, alternative treatment options and the benefits, risks and consequences of each. “It is not just a form,” she said.
“By law, patients must be informed about their treatment, and obtaining written consent is the best way to protect the patient and the doctor,” Solaiman said.
The informed-consent discussion is not required in the following situations according to the law: when the minor’s treatment includes emergency services or is associated with an emergency surgery and when, in the prescriber’s professional judgement, the discussion would be detrimental to the minor’s health or safety or would violate the minor’s legal rights concerning confidentiality.
Covering addiction risks in mandatory C.E.
The new law also addresses continuing education for dentists, physicians, surgeons, nurse practitioners and pharmacists. Specifically for dentistry, SB 1109 allows the Dental Board of California to require C.E. that covers the risks of addiction associated with the use of Schedule II drugs. At its November meeting, the dental board voiced its support for additional C.E. and in the coming months will discuss what such a requirement would look like. CDA will work closely with the board and update members as more information becomes available.
- Find the new form, “Consent to Prescribe an Opioid to a Minor,” at www.tdicinsurance.com/risk-management/informed-consent or www.cda.org/resources.
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