Most Doctors Will Be Required to Use Prescription Database

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Most doctors in South Carolina will soon be required to consult a database of patients’ medical history as a way to combat the state’s rampant prescription painkiller problem.

Policy changes will direct any doctor who wants to bill either Medicaid or the state’s health plan for public workers to use the database. That’s been voluntary since 2008.

State Medicaid director Christian Soura said announcements will likely go out in February on the mandate, which starts April 1.

The directive follows state reports in 2013 and 2014 that called it key to combatting painkiller abuse.

Officials say technology improvements that made the database more user-friendly were critical to gaining doctors’ support and the reason for delaying the mandate. Improvements in the new system launched in November include online registration.