January 16, 2015

The Medical Society of the State of New York has joined with 17 other statewide organizations urging that New York State delay implementation of the E-prescribing requirement for all substances due to many EHR systems currently used by physicians and hospitals have not yet been certified by the DEA to enable electronic prescribing of controlled substances. In a joint letter to Commissioner Howard A. Zucker, and to the members of the New York State Legislature, MSSNY and the organizations asked for the one year delay and also asked that the waiver process include a provision of exigent circumstance those instances where the physician prescribes less than 25 prescriptions per year.

On January 15, MSSNY DGA staff learned from discussions with NYS Department of Health Bureau of Narcotics (BNE) staff, that the department will soon be announcing the waiver process and that the process will include guidance for three types of prescribers:
  • Institutional prescribers whereby the institution may request the waiver on behalf of the prescribers;
  • Group practices over 50
  • Solo or group practices fewer than 50.

MSSNY and the other organizations argue that it is unfair to hold prescribers responsible for the failure of vendors to meet this deadline. MSSNY leadership and staff have already had discussion with the administration and some members of the Legislature to request this delay.

MSSNY is urging physicians to assist in this effort by sending a letter calling for delay of the implementation date. Physicians and other prescribers can send a letter to their legislators and Governor Cuomo urging a postponement of this mandate

Additionally, nursing homes and assisted living providers face unique challenges in complying with the e-prescribing requirement and the how this process would work under the standing medical orders which are utilized in these sites. Various organizations that represent these facilities have joined with MSSNY urging a delay, along with the dentists, podiatrists, nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants.

Organizations signing this letter were: American Academy of Pediatrics, District II; American Congress of Obstetricians & Gynecologists; Continuing Care Leadership Coalition (CCLC); Leading Age New York; New York Chapter, American College of Physicians; New York State Academy of Family Physicians; New York State Dental Association; New York State Health Facilities Association; New York State Ophthalmological Society; New York State Psychiatric Association; New York State Society of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery; New York State Society of Orthopaedic Surgery; New York State Podiatric Medical Association; New York State Radiological Society; New York State Society of Physician Assistants; Nurse Practitioner Association New York State; NYS Society of Plastic Surgeons Inc.

The E-prescribing requirement goes into effect for non-controlled and controlled substances on March 27, 2015. This requirement was part of the I-STOP law that was approved unanimously by the Legislature. MSSNY has had numerous discussions with state officials and key legislative leaders to make them fully aware of the significant obstacles many physicians of all practice configurations will face in complying with this law, and the potential medication disruptions patients could face as a result. MSSNY has also advocated with the state to assure that the process for physicians to apply for a waiver of this requirement will not be unduly burdensome. The law provides that physicians may apply for a waiver of this e-prescribing requirement as a result of a) economic hardship b) technological limitations that are not reasonably within the control of the physician, or c) other exceptional circumstance.