Arkansas Mandates Electronic Prescribing

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Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson recently signed Act No 447/SB174 into law. This Act mandates Arkansas healthcare providers to electronically prescribe all controlled substances with an effective date of January 1st, 2021.  Arkansas does not recognize Marijuana as a Schedule I drug.  The state has added a Schedule to their classification; Schedule VI, and classified marijuana as such.  The act refers to all controlled substances as Schedule II-VI.

Other subsections of this Act include:

  • Schedule III and Schedule IV drugs shall not be filled or refilled more than six months after the date of prescribing or be refilled more than five times unless renewed.
  • The act contains provisions for a waiver to delay the mandate for a specified time period for e-prescribing in the event of economic hardship, technological limitations, or exceptional circumstances.
  • 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 practitioner licensing board can issue a $250 fine for each violation of failure to e-prescribe a controlled substance.

Arkansas has remained below the national average for opioid-related overdose deaths since 2009.  However, in 2016 Arkansas was one of just eight states to fail the “National Safety Council: Prescription Nation” report that analyzed prescription drug usage state-by-state.   Arkansas was found to be ranked second in the list of highest rate of opioid prescribing states in the US[2].  The state government has worked hard since this ranking to get opioid prescriptions under control by requiring opioid education for practitioners, psychological therapy for patients while they are taking controlled substances, and additional support for inmates.

Arkansas currently has only 24.6% provider enablement for electronic prescribing of controlled substances, which is below the national average of 33.4%[3].  There will likely be a big push leading up to 2021 to secure electronic prescribing, MDToolbox encourages providers not to wait!

Arkansas now aligns with several other states mandating electronic prescribing. MDToolbox looks forward to working with providers throughout Arkansas 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.






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