Many states now mandate or are looking to demand e-prescription of controlled substances (EPCS) as it is a practical strategy to minimize “doctor shopping” and limit opioid addiction and dependence. ePrescribe may help your organization comply with your state’s EPCS obligation and provide access to your state’s PDMP.
This guide is an excellent place to start if you’re trying to figure out which jurisdictions will have an EPCS mandate in 2022. Because this list is not exhaustive and requirement dates are constantly in flux, you should check with your state to see if it has any current or forthcoming mandates. Furthermore, EPCS requirements differ from state to state. It’s always a good idea to study the details of your state’s prescription-issuing regulations to make sure you’re in compliance or will be in the future.
What is EPCS?
EPCS, or electronic prescription of controlled substances, is the practice of digitally delivering controlled substance prescriptions to the drugstore. Healthcare practitioners are advised to create and transmit restricted drug prescriptions electronically to promote safety and security and lessen the danger of fraud and diversion. Pharmacists are then allowed to retrieve, dispense, and archive electronic prescriptions.
Benefits of EPCS
Presently, several factors are driving state governments to compel the use of e-prescribing for prohibited medications. EPCS has been mandated by many as a proactive measure against prescription opioid abuse and misuse. It offers a standardized method for monitoring and oversight of patients’ pharmaceutical records and controlled substance prescriptions, reducing the risk of misapplication.
e-prescribing enables clinical alerts to protect against drug-to-drug and drug-to-allergy contraindications, improper dose, duplicate therapy, and patient statuses, such as breastfeeding or pregnancy. Furthermore, e-prescribing eliminates frequent mistakes associated with conventional prescribing, such as illegible handwriting, misread acronyms, and ambiguous dosages. Providers can avoid errors that may induce adverse drug events by merging medication history with computerized medical decision support.
Covid-19 made a case for interoperabilityin the healthcare sector. Interoperable state PMPs are also gaining popularity. Employing digital tools is the best path to achieving full-scale interoperability. E-prescribing is one of the few areas in healthcare IT where clinical data, such as drug history, may be exchanged easily.
EPCS removes the need for most practitioners to handwrite prescriptions along with the electronic prescriptions they use to buy medications. It can reduce the frequency of call-backs from pharmacists who need to verify an order. This effectively saves up on costs and boosts ROI.
Additionally, ePrescribing maximizes cost savings for patients. Prescribers can see in real-time if a patient’s insurance policy will cover a given prescription and how much it will cost. Lower-cost options and actual patient co-pays for a particular pharmacy may be presented depending on the healthcare plan.
States with ePrescribe Mandates
Almost all prescriptions issued in California must be submitted electronically starting January 1, 2022 . Physicians who haven’t started using electronic prescribing in their offices should do so right away.
California’s mandate took a lot of its verbiage straight from federal laws. However, unlike the Medicare mandate, the state mandate applies to practically all prescriptions, not just those for controlled drugs. In this regard, the state mandate is far more expansive than Medicare’s and will affect a considerably larger number of practitioners.
With an effective date of January 1, 2022, Nebraska Legislature Bill 583 requires all healthcare professionals to electronically dispense all restricted medications. The Nebraska statute allows for exemptions, such as cases involving state crises and patients in long-term care centers. Dentists will also be required to comply with the regulation, but not until January 1, 2024. In Nebraska, there are currently no sanctions for non-compliance. According to the Act, violations are not grounds for disciplinary action. The legislation goes into great depth with the rules for pharmacies and dispensers, including allowing the partial filling of specific medication regimens.
With an effective date of January 1, 2022, New Hampshire House Bill 143 requires providers to prescribe all restricted substances electronically. New Hampshire’s mandate is relatively standard compared to laws passed by other states. Exemptions to the mandate include technological failure, instances where the practitioner administers the drug in-office, and also placing exclusions on compounded pharmaceuticals. The mandate also sets a one-year waiver mechanism for providers, although no precise details are provided. HB143 also modifies the requirements for social workers and therapists to be licensed.
With a commencement date of January 1, 2022, Utah House Bill 177 requires healthcare practitioners to prescribe all controlled drugs electronically. With an effective date of January 1, 2022, Maryland Senate Bill 166 and House Bill 512 require practitioners to prescribe all restricted medications digitally.
The laws in Utah and Maryland compel their respective medical boards to develop rules and regulations for a system that will provisionally waive the electronic prescribing mandate. The electronic prescribing requirement in Maryland will be extended for no more than one year, whereas in Utah, the obligation will be extended for up to two years. Maryland’s law stipulates that breaking the rule may result in disciplinary action by the medical board. On the other hand, Utah’s bill specifies criminal charges and financial penalties for prescribers who contravene the electronic prescribing mandate. The Utah law also specifies how to obtain licenses to manufacture and conduct research on pharmaceuticals.
Why Parnter with NewCrop when it comes to compliance?
Controlled substance electronic prescribing lowers costs, enhances the standard of care, and minimizes bureaucratic hassles. Even in states where EPCS has yet to be mandated, changes to Medicaid Part D and the inherent value of EPCS have hastened implementation for many small practices and healthcare organizations.
NewCrop is a premier EPCS provider for EHR vendors and health practitioners. Our industry-leading platform combines intelligent access controls, rigorous identity proofing, highly-secure 2nd-factor technology, and an interactive user interface to provide practices with the practical benefits of EPCS without the extraneous implementation or the time-consuming learning process.
New Crop has the right features to match your needs, whether you only need a simple solution to meet state mandates or want to enjoy more extensive capabilities. We’re facilitating EHR vendors and health practitioners alike in implementing sophisticated, end-to-end electronic prescriptions. To learn more on how NewCrop can help you secure your spot in the future of prescriptions, contact us to schedule a demo.