New year brings new electronic prescribing law

Gavel to Gavel

published in The Journal Record | December 5, 2019

In May of 2018, the Oklahoma Legislature enacted House Bill 2931 as part of an ongoing effort to combat the opioid crisis. HB 2931 is expected to help lessen the opioid crisis by combating forgery of paper prescriptions.

The new law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, mandates that physicians and other practitioners use electronic prescribing for all Schedule II through V controlled substances rather than issuing written, oral or facsimile prescriptions. Oklahoma is one of several states moving to require electronic prescribing of controlled substances.

Importantly, there are several exceptions to this new requirement. The requirement will not apply to prescriptions for controlled dangerous substances issued by veterinarians, physicians and other practitioners who experience temporary technological or electrical failure; physicians and other practitioners who dispense directly to patients; physicians and other practitioners who order controlled dangerous substances to be administered through on-site pharmacies in certain facilities; physicians and other practitioners who write prescriptions to be dispensed by pharmacies located on federal property; and physicians and other practitioners who receive a waiver or extension from their licensing board.

Of all the exceptions set forth in HB 2931, the one that has sparked the most interest is the waiver and extension exception. These waivers and extensions give physicians and other practitioners time to acquire the requisite technology to comply with the new Oklahoma law and the federal Support for Patients and Communities Act, which requires all Medicare Part D-covered controlled substance prescriptions be transmitted electronically by 2021.

For medical doctors and physician assistants, the Oklahoma Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision released the application for the one-year waiver, and it is available on the board’s website. For doctors of osteopathic medicine, the application for the one-year waiver is available on the Oklahoma State Board of Osteopathic Examiners website. For nurses, the Oklahoma Board of Nursing will issue an extension to the electronic prescription requirement. Once available, this information will be accessible on the board’s website.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control will issue an official prescription form for physicians and practitioners to use when an exception to electronic prescribing applies. To obtain the prescription form, physicians and practitioners must register with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control.

If you have questions about the new e-prescription law, please do not hesitate to contact a health care regulatory attorney.

This article appeared in the December 5, 2019, issue of The Journal Record. It is reproduced with permission from the publisher. © The Journal Record Publishing Co.

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