New York grants one-year reprieve on e-prescribing requirement

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation delaying mandatory use of electronic prescribing for one year, according to an announcement from the New York State Medical Society.

The legislation, signed March 13, moves the deadline for complying from March 27, 2015, to March 27, 2016. The e-prescribing is part of a larger law called Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act of 2012 (I-STOP) that is intended to reduce drug diversion and doctor shopping. The law applies to all prescriptions and all prescribers except for veterinarians.

New York is the first state to require e-prescribing.

The Medical Society and others had called for the delay in implementation of the requirement due to concerns that physicians were not yet able to prescribe electronically. According to the Medical Society, many EHR vendors are not yet certified to electronically prescribe controlled substances; providers also were running into delays because they needed to test and retest their systems to remove operational flaws in the software.

Both the Medical Society and health information network giant Surescripts are urging stakeholders in New York not to postpone compliance with the upcoming law.

"If prescribers and pharmacies in New York are going to be able to take full advantage of the breathing room afforded by Gov. Cuomo's decision today, then we all must continue to work very diligently to prepare for this somewhat delayed, but still looming, legal mandate that all prescriptions issued in the state be transmitted electronically," Ken Whittemore, Jr., senior vice president of professional and regulatory affairs for Surescripts, said in a statement. "Surescripts will continue its intense focus on driving the adoption and utilization of e-prescribing in New York, with our ultimate goal being to connect healthcare organizations to improve care and curb prescription fraud, diversion and abuse.  We will work diligently with all of our customers to help them achieve full compliance with the I-STOP law." 

E-prescribing has become more popular in recent years. ONC published a report last month noting that 70 percent of physicians were using the systems, and Surescripts issued new tools to help prescribers learn how to e-prescribe controlled substances. Forty-eight states plus the District of Columbia now allow e-prescribing of controlled substances.     

To learn more:
- here's the announcement