Tennessee’s New Prescribing Laws and Old Habits: Effectively Caring for Patients Using Controlled Substances


This paper is republished here with the consent of the article’s authors, William Swiggart and Dr. Charlene Dewey of the Vanderbilt Center for Professional Health, and Alex Scarbrough Fisher of Thompson Burton, PLLC. This piece was first written and published in January 2014 in conjunction with the Vanderbilt Center for Professional Health. Although it was initially published several months ago, its contents regarding prescribing laws in Tennessee are still germane for healthcare providers who practice in the state of Tennessee.   You can also access the article in .pdf format at Tennessee’s New Prescribing Laws. Introduction The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation identified substance abuse as this nation’s number one health problem in 2004.1 Substance abuse, particularly abuse of controlled prescription drugs, is closely interwoven with pain management. Physicians have the unique opportunity to identify substance misuse and abuse. Physicians can intervene early for patients at risk. Proper prescribing of controlled prescription drugs (CPD) is […]

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What Doctors Wish Their Attorneys Knew


What Doctors Wish their Attorneys Knew from Thompson Burton on Vimeo. When doctors find themselves on the wrong side of a complaint against their professional license, they usually hire a lawyer who doesn’t understand their practice or predicament. In this interview, administrative lawyer Alex Fisher interviews Dr. Wayne Henderson about what doctors wish their attorneys knew about the practice of medicine. In this interview, Alex and Dr. Henderson discuss: 1. The nervousness physicians experience when interacting with the legal world–particularly when a physician practices pain management. 2. How physicians can properly care for patients and not worry about the Board of Medical Examiners always looking over their shoulder to see if they have done something wrong. 3. The benefit of electronic record keeping over paper record keeping. 4. The potential for a physician to change his or her practice style when nervous about being criticized of doing something wrong. 5. The fact […]

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Nursing Discipline Article Published in Tennessee Nursing Extra


Tennessee Nursing Extra’s Summer 2014 edition features an article titled “What Should You Do If You Receive a 4-5-320(c) Notification Letter From the Tennessee Department of Health?” written by Alex Scarbrough Fisher. The article begins on page ten, and can be accessed here. The article is a republication of this blog’s September 18, 2013 post of the same title. However, the article in Tennessee Nursing Extra contains specific references to a nursing rather than a medical license. Tennessee Nursing Extra is a widely read and respected publication that coveys information regarding licensing, regulatory updates, scope of practice, and disciplinary actions. The professionals professionals is published four times a year, and is distributed to over 150,000 nurses, students, educators, and other healthcare professionals.

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Spotlight on the Vanderbilt Center for Professional Health


The Vanderbilt Center for Professional Health (“CPH”) was established in 1998 to provide education and training to physicians and other healthcare professionals. Last week the co-directors of CPH, Dr. Charlene Dewey and Mr. William Swiggart, took a few moments out of their day to explain the purpose and process behind the work they do at the Center for Professional Health. What the Center for Professional Health Offers for Health Care Providers One of the main educational offerings of CPH is its three-day Continuing Medical Education courses on Maintaining Proper Boundaries, Prescribing Controlled Drugs, and a Program for Distressed Physicians. Each course is offered at least four times a year with the most highly attended course, Prescribing Controlled Drugs, offered seven times throughout the year. Physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners from around the country attend all three courses. Some of these individuals attend on their own initiative, while others attend as part of a […]

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What You Should Know Before You Sign a Consent Order: Is It Reportable to the National Practitioner Data Bank?


The National Practitioner Data Bank, or NPDB, is a repository of information created by the federal government to provide a comprehensive review of the professional credentials of health care practitioners, including, but not limited to, any discipline a health care practitioner receives from a state medical board. Federal regulations govern what state medical boards must report to the National Practitioner Data Bank, and the National Practitioner Data Bank Guidebook helps summarize and interpret these regulations. What Discipline is Reportable to the National Practitioner Data Bank? Federal regulation requires that “any adverse action taken by the licensing or certification authority of that state [i.e., the State Board of Medical Examiners] including revocation or suspension of a license…reprimand, censure, or probation….any negative actions or findings by such authority, organization or entity regarding the health care practitioner” be reported to the NPDB. 45 C.F.R. § 60.9(a)(1) and (4). What does this mean, exactly? Well, […]

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