Despite Pharmacist Preparedness, E-Prescribe Mandate Delayed

MARCH 17, 2015
Katie Eder, Senior Editor
Almost all New York pharmacists are prepared to accept only electronic prescriptions for controlled substances, but 94% of prescribers are not prepared to issue them. As a result, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed state legislation to delay the deadline for requiring e-prescriptions by 1 year.
 
This e-prescribe regulation of the state’s Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing 
(I-STOP) law was issued on March 27, 2013, in an effort to dramatically decrease diversion of opioids and other controlled substances due to forgery or theft of paper prescriptions. Since that date, practitioners in New York have been authorized to issue e-prescriptions for controlled substances, while pharmacists have been allowed to accept, annotate, dispense, and electronically archive them.
 
Now, 3 years after the regulation was issued, all but 20 of the approximately 4500 pharmacies in New York have the computer systems in place to receive only e-prescriptions, according to Tracy Russell, executive director of the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York (PSSNY), in an interview with Plantsvszombies.info.  
 
“PSSNY has been very supportive of the I-STOP law,” Russell said. “The transitions have been relatively painless, and pharmacy is ready for the e-prescribing mandate.”
 
Nevertheless, the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) asked state legislators to delay the March 27, 2015, effective date of the mandate, citing that many electronic health record vendors used by New York prescribers still have not been approved by the Drug Enforcement Administration for e-prescribing controlled substances.
 
In light of that unpreparedness, lawmakers recently pushed a measure through the state Senate and Assembly to postpone the deadline until next year, which Gov. Cuomo signed into law on March 14, 2015.
 
“This is a victory for patient safety,” said MSSNY President Andrew Kleinman, MD, in a statement. “The fact that many software companies are not ready for e-prescribing could have resulted in patients’ inability to fill their prescriptions.”
 
Although all 77 Kinney Drugs stores in New York were set to fill those e-prescriptions ahead of the original implementation deadline, Director of Pharmacy Operations David Adsit, RPh, echoed Dr. Kleinman’s concerns in an interview with Plantsvszombies.info.
 
“Filling electronic prescriptions is a common practice in our pharmacy departments, and we expect limited challenges related to workflow and staffing, as long as prescribers are certified to send electronic prescriptions,” Adsit said. “…Our biggest challenge is related to prescriber and software vendor readiness with electronic controlled substance transmission.”
 
Pharmacist and New York State Assembly Member Roy J. McDonald previously stated that approximately 98% of the state’s pharmacists stood ready to meet the original deadline. The new effective date of the e-prescribe mandate is March 27, 2016.
 


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