State Legislative Sessions 2019 - A State-of-the-States Report

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Most state legislative sessions have come to a close for 2019.  There are a handful of states that have year-round legislative sessions (MA, MI, NJ, NY, OH, PA, WI), but the majority of 2019 state legislation being drafted has either passed or died.  We saw a record number of States this year that have passed electronic prescribing mandates.  As of the writing of this blog, 27 of the 50 states have an active or pending mandate! 


States that have passed a mandate in 2019 are listed below:


States requiring e-prescribing of all prescriptions:


  • Delaware (1/1/21)
  • Florida (7/1/21 or upon license renewal)


States requiring e-prescribing of controlled substances:


  • Arkansas (1/1/21)
  • Colorado (7/1/21 or 7/1/23 for solo practitioners)
  • Indiana (1/1/21)
  • Kansas (7/1/21)
  • Kentucky (1/1/21)
  • Missouri (1/1/21)
  • Nevada (1/1/21)
  • South Carolina (1/1/21)
  • Texas (1/1/21)
  • Washington (1/1/21)
  • Wyoming (1/1/21)


Two states have enacted amendments to their previously passed mandates.  Tennessee has made several major changes to their mandate.  The amended Act expands the mandate to cover not only Schedule II drugs, but all controlled substances.  The effective date has also been postponed to January 1st, 2020.  Arizona has also amended their mandate passed in 2018.  Arizona had initially set effective dates of January 1, 2019 for prescribers in counties with populations more than 150,000 and July 1, 2019 for prescribers in rural counties with less than 150,000 residents.  The amended mandate has an updated effective date of January 1st, 2020 for all counties in the State.


The majority of states share language in their bills, however there are a few state mandates that contained unique provisions in the wording of their legislation.

  • Missouri’s mandate states that electronic prescriptions of controlled substances can be substituted with a written prescription at the direct request of the patient, maintaining an avenue for written prescriptions.


  • Florida’s mandate has a provision that allows for practices that exclusively use paper charts to not follow the state mandate requiring electronic prescribing.  In speaking with a prescriber in Florida, they were waiting for clarification on this provision before making any prescribing arrangements as the provision’s wording is not entirely clear as to what constitutes an electronic health record as is written in the Act.


  • Washington’s mandate requires that medical entities with ten or more prescribers must use an EHR that is integrated with the state Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) database.  The EHR must demonstrate both sending and receiving of PMP data.  A waiver process will be made available for this requirement.


  • Colorado allows for practitioners who write less than 25 prescriptions for controlled substances per year to not have to adopt electronic prescribing.


Michigan currently has pending legislation for their mandate and is currently being deliberated in committee.  There is also an anticipated update to the Ryan Haight act as required per 2018’s SUPPORT Act regarding telemedicine.  The deadline established in the SUPPORT Act is October 24th, 2019.  Watch our blog or check our social media accounts for any updates regarding either of these legislation changes.


If you reside in any of the states that have enacted mandates this year, MDToolbox encourages prescribers to do their research and adopt a solution early to ensure that they comply with state regulations.


Please see our website for other states that have either passed or have pending legislation that mandates electronic prescribing.  MDToolbox looks forward to providing tools and resources to assist providers throughout the United States to ease the transition and help our customers combat the opioid epidemic.  With MDToolbox, providers have access to tools such as Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances (EPCS) and convenient on the go e-prescribing with our mobile app!  We offer a free 30 day free trial, so Contact us for more information!

Indiana Mandates Electronic Prescribing

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Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb recently signed SB176 into law. This Act mandates Indiana healthcare providers to electronically prescribe all controlled substances with an effective date of January 1st, 2021.  This bill began as an 8-line document allowing patients to transfer their prescription to another pharmacy.  Several amendments were made in the two weeks it took the Indiana House and Senate to pass the bill bringing it to 15 pages in length.

Other subsections include:

  • The Act amends several sections of state code by adding the phrase “or electronically transmit” to add electronic prescribing as a valid means of prescribing.
  • There are provisions in the Act for a waiver system with similar circumstances for approval as other states have enacted.  Some of these include: economic hardship, technological limitations, and other circumstances determined by the board.
  • Pharmacies are not required to verify if a controlled substance prescription received via written, oral, or fax falls within the state and federal laws.
  • The Act allows for advanced practice registered nurses to send prescriptions under their own credentials once they have met the requirements established by the board, previously nurse practitioners were required to send prescriptions under a supervising physicians’ credentials.
  • Telemedicine is also addressed in this Act.  Indiana has allowed for the prescribing of controlled and non-controlled (excluding opioids) prescriptions for telemedicine providers so long as certain criteria is met.  One regulation is that an Indiana licensed practitioner has seen the patient in person and developed a medical plan that the telemedicine prescriber is following. (Note: Stay tuned for our next blog concerning U.S. Wide Telemedicine Prescribing that goes into more details about the uncertainty of telemedicine and the current laws governing it.)

Indiana has remained below the national average for opioid-related overdose deaths since 1999, following the national trend and increasing in number of deaths.  However, the rate has increased sharply in recent years catching up with the national average.  If the rate continues as forecasted, it will pass the national average for the first time since the National Institute on Drug Abuse has been collecting data.  Prescription opioid overdose deaths decreased in 2011 but have begun to rise again in recent years along with heroin and synthetic opioid deaths.  Indiana enacted SB226 on April 26th, 2017, the Act limits the first fill prescription of opioids to seven days for adults.  The law also limits opioid prescriptions for minors to seven days.  Prescriptions can exceed seven days under certain circumstances, such as the doctor determines that the patient requires it and if the patient is in palliative care.[1]

Indiana currently has a 30.5% provider enablement for electronic prescribing of controlled substances, which is just below the national average of 33.4%.  Pharmacy enablement for EPCS is 97.8% which is above the current nation average for pharmacies, which is 95.2%.[2]  There will likely be a big push leading up to 2021 to secure electronic prescribing, MDToolbox encourages providers not to wait!

Indiana now aligns with several other states mandating electronic prescribing.  MDToolbox looks forward to working with providers throughout Indiana to ease the transition and help provide tools and resources in combating the opioid epidemic.  With MDToolbox providers have access to tools such as Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances (EPCS) and convenient on the go mobile e-prescribing.  Contact us for more information or to start your free 30 day free trial.