AMCNO Meets with SMBO and BOP to Discuss OARRS Letters

The AMCNO and other medical association representatives met with staff from the Ohio Board of Pharmacy (BOP) and the State Medical Board of Ohio (SMBO) to discuss the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS) compliance letters that have been sent to physicians over the past few months. The AMCNO had expressed concern to the SMBO that physicians who believe they are in compliance or are exempt from checking OARRS are receiving these letters. 

BOP staff provided an overview of how the OARRS data is reviewed and what information is provided to the SMBO. The SMBO then utilized the data to determine which physicians would receive an OARRS compliance letter. Based on the BOP data received by the SMBO, the first letter was sent to a large number of physicians across the state. This resulted in thousands of physicians contacting the SMBO to update their OARRS information or make other corrections that brought them into full compliance with the state rules. The SMBO noted, however, that the vast majority of physicians being contacted are not suspected of egregious errors but of occasional missed patient checks or incorrect registry information needing to be updated.

The AMCNO and the other medical associations present at the meeting urged the SMBO to work with the associations to improve their messaging to physicians. The SMBO said it is committed to assuring its licensees understand OARRS and added that it would continue to work with the BOP to provide clearer data that will help provide physicians with more definitive information as to why they might be receiving the letters and how they can go about improving their compliance. 

The SMBO is continuing to send letters to physicians based on the OARRS data; however, at this time, these letters are being sent to a specific list of physicians who have failed to check OARRS between 20 and 50 times, or more than 50 times during a one-month period. The BOP staff also indicated that they are exploring the option of providing a list of patients, with key identifiers removed, to the physicians who receive these letters so that they can see where there may be non-compliance issues. In the interim, if you need to update information for OARRS or you believe that you received a letter in error due to one of the exemptions for OARRS, please email the board at

During the meeting, the AMCNO agreed with the SMBO and the BOP that fully integrating OARRS data into electronic health records (EHR) and the state’s pharmacy dispensing system would be a huge step toward helping to assure that opioids are more appropriately prescribed. The BOP indicated that this integration process is underway and physicians can check to see whether their EHR provider has integrated with OARRS or where the process stands by clicking on this link.

The SMBO indicated that its letters will continue on a monthly basis but may become less frequent in the future. The AMCNO and the other medical associations present at the meeting offered to work with the SMBO and the BOP to help physicians achieve fuller compliance with state prescribing rules and guidelines and asked that the SMBO work with the associations in the future on these issues as well. In addition, the associations offered to send letters to our members in conjunction with the BOP and SMBO, supporting their efforts to achieve integration of OARRS into EHRs across the state, since we believe that this would help streamline the process.   

The Pollen Line is now closed. See you in the spring!

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