Posts Tagged education

2023 Prescribing and Pharmacology of Controlled Drugs Conference

2023 Prescribing and Pharmacology of Controlled Drugs Conference

The Medical Association of Alabama hosted its annual meeting on November 18-19, 2023, at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham-The Wynfrey Hotel in Birmingham, Alabama. The focal point of this gathering was the renowned “Prescribing and Pharmacology of Controlled Drugs Conference,” marking the 15th year of its occurrence and the 45th presentation of the 12-hour Prescribing and Pharmacology course. This conference attracted a substantial attendance of around three hundred healthcare providers from across the southeastern United States, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Texas.

The conference served as a vital platform for healthcare professionals to delve into crucial aspects of prescribing practices and the pharmacology of controlled substances. With its long-standing tradition, the event has consistently provided an opportunity for medical practitioners to stay abreast of the latest developments in the field and enhance their understanding of safe and effective prescribing methods.

At the conference, we paid tribute to three individuals who have devoted extensive efforts to combat the opioid crisis in Alabama, Dr. Buddy Smith, Dr. Jerry Harrison, and Dr. Steven Furr. Regrettably, Dr. Furr was unable to be with us due to his demanding role as the newly elected President of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

It is often said that noticing an issue is easy, but taking decisive action is the real challenge. Over the course of the last fifteen years, these gentlemen have dedicated forty-seven weekends away from their families to educate healthcare providers on the judicious prescribing of controlled medications. This commitment goes beyond the weekends, as they have also invested countless hours on the planning committee, ensuring not only the coverage of highly relevant topics but also the selection of expert faculty for these courses. Since 2009, over ten thousand prescribers in Alabama have successfully completed the Prescribing course.

We also recognized Richard Tucker, a Consultant with Drug Education Consulting Group in Huntsville, NC, and a former U.S. DEA Special Agent for his outstanding contributions. The association bestowed upon him an award in acknowledgment of his eight years of dedicated service in sharing his time and knowledge at the Prescribing of Controlled Drugs Conferences. Tucker’s expertise and commitment have played a pivotal role in enhancing education and awareness surrounding controlled substances, reflecting his significant impact on the medical community’s understanding and responsible prescribing practices.

We were honored to commemorate their achievements. According to recent data released by the American Medical Association, the total opioid prescriptions dispensed in Alabama during their tenure have decreased by 43.7%, and the total dosage strength, measured in morphine milligram equivalents, has decreased by 55.4%. These statistics bear witness to the tangible impact these individuals have had on alleviating the opioid crisis in Alabama.

On behalf of the Board of Censors of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama, and in sincere appreciation of their many years of dedicated leadership, service, and commitment to addressing the opioid crisis in Alabama, we were honored to present them with these well-deserved awards.

Posted in: Education, Opioid

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Association Announces New Online, OnDemand Education Center

Association Announces New Online, OnDemand Education Center

Did you know that as a member of the Medical Association, you have access to our new online, OnDemand Education Center? Featured are seven Alabama Opioid Prescribing courses that meet the Alabama Board of Medical Examiner requirements for holders of an ASCS and are FREE to Medical Association members.

The Medical Association’s new OnDemand Education Center is easily accessed through our website, Simply sign in using your Medical Association username and password and add course(s) to your shopping cart.

“We joined this partnership as a way to bring our members the best educational courses available at the click of a button,” said Executive Director Mark Jackson. “Being a physician is a lifelong learning experience, and we wanted to deliver that opportunity in the easiest, most affordable way possible to Alabama’s physicians and other health care providers. This program was designed for physicians who are busy and have little time to spare but who want to continue expanding their educational prospects to the best of their abilities. Our new online, OnDemand learning experience provides an exciting venue to learn from our own courses in the catalog as well as from others across the country.”

Included in the OnDemand package are the seven Alabama Opioid Prescribing Courses, which meet the CME requirements for the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners:

  • Mitigating Risk When Prescribing Opioids
  • Resist the Opioid Pendulum: Understanding Opioids and Pain and How They Relate to Addiction
  • Use and Misuse of Benzodiazepines
  • Fighting the Opioid Crisis: The Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP)
  • Basic Principles and Advanced Concepts in Pain Management
  • CDC Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain
  • Issues from the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners

OnDemand courses are contributed not only by the Medical Association but also other medical associations and societies across the country. Categories currently include:

Alabama Opioid Prescribing
Specialty-specific Topics
Billing and Coding
Family Medicine
Internal Medicine
Medical Staff Leadership

Opioid Prescribing
Pain Management
Patient Safety
Physician Health
Practice Management
Primary Care
Public Health
Regulatory and Compliance
Risk Management
Substance Abuse
Women’s Health

Click here to go to the OnDemand Education Center. Log in using your Medical Association username and password. For more information about the new OnDemand Education Center, contact the Education Department at (800) 239-6272.

Posted in: Uncategorized

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AG Steve Marshall Speaks at November Education Weekend

AG Steve Marshall Speaks at November Education Weekend

BIRMINGHAM – Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall addressed attendees during the Association’s Annual Medical Ethics seminar on Friday, Nov. 17, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Birmingham and helped kick off one of the largest weekends of educational offerings the Association has hosted since 2014.

The weekend began on Friday, Nov. 17, with Ensuring Quality in the Collaborative Practice and Medical Ethics courses. This was the first time an attorney general has spoken to the participants.

By Saturday, Nov. 18, the room was filled with more than 430 participants for the final Prescribing of Controlled Drugs and Controversies of Pharmacology Prescribing course of 2017. The Association’s opioid prescribing courses began in 2009 and is offered at least three times annually. By the end of 2017, more than 5,000 participants – from physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners – had taken the course.

The Prescribing course will return in 2018 on March 17-18, August 3-5 and November 17-18. More information will be available at a later date.

Posted in: Education

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House of Delegates Pass Policy Opposing Further Imposition of MOC

House of Delegates Pass Policy Opposing Further Imposition of MOC

During Annual Session, the Medical Association’s House of Delegates passed a resolution formally opposing additional Maintenance of Certification requirements as dictated by the American Board of Medical Specialties and the American Osteopathic Association. While it was agreed that the need for continuing medical education to improve the quality of care, the expense and clinically irrelevant process of MOC often proved overly burdensome.

MOC is designed to show that once a physician’s formal training is over, they are continuing to practice lifelong learning by continuing to challenge themselves to keep up with the latest developments in their chosen field. However, while physicians do support efforts to improve the quality of care of their patients, physicians have argued for years that MOC is overly expensive and often clinically irrelevant to everyday practice.

For example, the American Board of Internal Medicine has long required internists to pass Maintenance of Certification exams every 10 years to keep their board-certified status. However, this policy has recently come under scrutiny due to its high burden to doctors and the lack of sound evidence that recertification processes improve doctors’ quality of care. The ABIM announced it would offer a new assessment option starting in January 2018, allowing doctors to be recertified through shorter, but more frequent, assessments. But it’s not clear that this will make much difference.

To alleviate some burden on our physicians, the Medical Association’s Counsel on Medical Services studied the need for MOC and presented a formal resolution to the House of Delegates during Annual Session in April. The resolution, which passed, created a formal policy to oppose adding any further requirements for MOC as a condition of licensure, reimbursement, employment or admitting privileges at a hospital.

Posted in: Advocacy

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Medical Association Joins AMA for Release of Opioid Education and Resource Toolbox

Medical Association Joins AMA for Release of Opioid Education and Resource Toolbox

BIRMINGHAM – The Medical Association and the American Medical Association partnered in the development and release of a toolbox of data, education and other resources to aid physicians in their continued fight against Alabama’s epidemic of prescription drug misuse, overdose and death. The toolbox was released in a press conference during the Association’s November Opioid Prescribing Education conference in Birmingham.

This toolbox is part of the Medical Association’s continuing efforts – legislative and other – to reverse this epidemic, and Alabama is one of two states participating in this pilot program.

“Although Alabama is no longer the top prescriber of opioids in the country, we still have a very long way to go as far as educating our physicians and other prescribers how to properly handle the prescription of opioid pain medication and those patients that require that medication,” said Medical Association Executive Director Mark Jackson. “This toolbox will help physicians not only educate patients about pain, but also provide resources for overdose prevention and treatment.”

Jackson said he hopes Alabama’s physicians will find the toolbox useful and help strengthen their physician-patient relationships as they continue to discuss pain-related issues with their patients.

“This toolbox contains the types of data and resources that physicians can rely on to help improve their practices for their patients,” said Gerald Harmon, M.D., chair-elect of the American Medical Association Board of Trustees, who also spoke at the press conference. “We recognize that we have much more to accomplish, but physicians in Alabama and across the nation already have made important strides to reverse the nation’s opioid epidemic, and using these resources will help physicians continue that progress.”

Alabama, along with Rhode Island, are the only two states in this grant. These states were chosen due to many factors, including high rates of opioid-related harm as well as diverse demographic, socioeconomic, geographic and other characteristics. The characteristics offer excellent opportunities to study the implementation of the toolbox, refine it, and potentially use it as a model for other states that want to undertake similar efforts.

The toolbox can be viewed online at

Funding for this initiative was made possible (in part) by Providers’ Clinical Support System for Opioid Therapies (grant no. 5H79TI025595) from SAMHSA. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Posted in: Smart and Safe

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