December 8, 2010

To: Massachusetts Nursing and Professional Healthcare Organizations

From: Laurie Talarico, MS, RN, NP, Nursing Practice Coordinator

MGL 94C, s. 18(e) APRN education mandate
Revision of Advisory Ruling 0901: Management of Pain

House Bill 4879: An Act relative to the enhancement of the prescription monitoring program was approved by the Governor on August 9, 2010 in the Acts of 2010, Chapter 283 [1]. The statute adds safeguards to the existing Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP).

The PMP collects prescribing and dispensing information on Massachusetts Schedule II - V controlled substances dispensed pursuant to a prescription. The PMP utilizes the data collected to determine prescribing and dispensing trends; provide educational information to health care providers and the public; and provide case information to regulatory and law enforcement agencies concerning drug distribution and diversion.

As of January 1, 2011, pursuant to MGL 94C, Section 18(e), all prescribers, upon initial application for MA Controlled Substance Registration (MCSR) and subsequently during each APRN license renewal period, must complete education relative to:

  • effective pain management,
  • identification of patients at high risk for substance abuse, and
  • counseling patients about the side effects, addictive nature and proper storage and disposal of prescription medications.

Please note that MGL 94C, Section 18(e) does not specify a minimum number of contact hours to comply with this education requirement. All continuing education offerings must be consistent with the Board of Registration in Nursing (Board) requirements at 244 CMR 5.00: Continuing Education and, for this specific requirement, the Board Advisory Ruling #0901: Management of Pain. Advisory Ruling #0901 has been revised to include the new education requirement for APRNs with prescriptive authority.

By signing the MCSR form and by your signature on your license renewal form, you attest under penalties of perjury that you have complied with state tax and child support laws, mandatory reporting laws, and regulations, including continuing education requirements.

Visit the Board's Web Site at to access 244 CMR 5.00 and Advisory Ruling 0901: Management of Pain, and other information relevant to advanced practice authorization and practice.



This information is provided by the Division of Health Professions Licensure within the Department of Public Health.