NY State Prescriptions Go Electronic

On March 13, 2015, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature amended the Public Health Law and the Education Law to extend the implementation date for mandatory electronic prescribing for controlled substances (EPCS) to March 27, 2016. In November, The New York State Department of Health (DOH) and the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement (BNE) urged practitioners to immediately begin implementation of certified prescribing software to allow time for glitches and workflow issues.

Each computer application that allows for such prescribing must have been registered with the State of New York Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement whose responsibility it is to protect the public health by combatting the illegal use and trafficking of prescription controlled substances. They regulate these substances through licensing with manufactures, hospitals, nursing homes and the like investigating any suspected illegal sales or fraudulent sales.

Other amendments to EPCS account for problems where electronic prescribing is temporarily unavailable, waivers for EPCS, failed transmissions, out of state filling of prescriptions, and pharmacy computer downtime.

Some software providers like Microwize Technology’s McKesson Practice Choice offer full requirements and general information online for practitioners to be able to easily view implementation steps. On the patient side, brochures are available from the state to help patients understand the requirement. The brochure outlines benefits of electronic prescribing such as less risk of loss of prescription and fewer errors. It also reminds patients to have pharmacy information ready at appointments and gives them a form to complete and return listing all pertinent pharmacy information.

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