The creation of a statewide prescription pill-monitoring database is well underway, with a new name and new requirements. Though E-FORCSE (Electronic-Florida Online Reporting Controlled Substance Evaluation) wasn’t without its initial opponents (Gov. Rick Scott among them), the database has successfully passed its hurdles and will soon go live.

A 2009 bill that passed under then-Gov. Charlie Crist required the database to be operational by Dec. 1, 2010. But a contract bidding dispute over which company would run the program got in the way, and by the time Scott made it into office, the database seemed like a lost cause. Though he initially opposed the program because of cost and privacy concerns, Scott came around to show his support. The database was eventually approved and signed into law.

But a new requirement of E-FORCSE will see that the program can “go back in time,” so to speak — so that the state will still technically be in compliance with the original bill, even if its implementation is nearly one year late.

Once the program is operational, prescription drug dispensers will be required to report controlled medications they have dispensed since Dec. 1, 2010 — up to the date on which E-FORCSE goes live.  The Department of Health will give dispensers until November 30 of this year to provide that data.

“It is very exciting that not only will the database be operational, but it will also meet the intent of the statute that created it,” says Greg Giordano, the chief legislative aide for state Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey. “Although the time lag created by the contract disputes can’t be undone, at least the trends during that time will be available for practitioners to see as we move forward into a new era of health care in Florida.”

Fasano was a vocal proponent of the program and instrumental in its eventual approval.

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