2021 Legislation Update and a Look at Changes to Come

Posted by on Comments (0)

2021 will see a record number of states mandating electronic prescribing.  Although there was anticipation some states would postpone their mandate due to the public health crisis created by COVID-19, all States with enacted legislation for 2021 will still require electronic prescribing in 2021.  Washington State was the sole state to delay their mandate, which was delayed only a few months from 01/01/2021 to 09/30/2021.  This delay was announced in June of 2020.

States with mandates that took effect on January 1st, 2021 include:

  • kansas
  • Delaware
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Wyoming


States with mandates that take effect later this year include:

  • Colorado (07/01/2021)
  • Kansas (07/01/2021)
  • Michigan (10/01/2021)
  • Washington (09/30/2021

At the time of this blog’s publication, 30 of the 50 states have an active or future (passed but not active) mandate! 

The majority of state legislation for mandates introduced last year shared language in their bills, there were very few unique sections to the bills that have been seen in past legislation.  Politicians seem to be standardizing legislation that has successfully passed in other states instead of writing unique mandates for their own state.  2020 presented unique circumstances that have and continue to disrupt many aspects of our lives. The year began as normal for the legislative season with several states introducing legislation mandating electronic prescribing including:

  • Kansas
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • Utah
  • West Virginia


COVID-19 slowed nearly all state’s legislative progress in fighting the other public health crisis plaguing the US; the opioid epidemic, but MDToolbox applauds the States that continued with their planned legislation. Ultimately, 2020 saw only three states successfully pass their mandates during the interrupted legislative terms.  These states include:

  • Maryland is requiring all controlled substance prescriptions to be electronically prescribed by January 1st, 2022.  Maryland’s mandate specifies establishing a waiver not to exceed one year.
  • Utah is also requiring all controlled substance prescriptions to be electronically prescribed by January 1st, 2022.  Utah’s mandate details a two-year waiver as well as specific criminal charges and monetary fines for failure to comply with the eRx mandate.
  • Michigan is requiring all prescriptions to be electronically prescribed by October 1st 2021.  This is the shortest deadline for an electronic prescribing mandate that has been passed.  Michigan prescribers will not have long to learn about electronic prescribing and implement systems.  Fortunately, MDToolbox can get the majority or prescribers electronically sending prescriptions within 24 hours.  Michigan’s mandate makes mention of a waiver system but specifics have not yet been established.


The final state with a future mandate not yet mentioned in this blog is California, which will require electronic prescribing of all prescriptions by January 1, 2022.  Nebraska, New Hampshire and New Jersey have pending legislation for a mandate.


The CMS Federal Mandate

CMS has also begun requiring all Part D Medicare prescribers to begin sending electronic prescriptions for controlled substances as of 01/01/2021.  In a statement from CMS made on December 4th, 2020, this requirement will not be enforced until January 1st, 2022.  The agency is delaying enforcement of their EPCS mandate while it develops rules for the waiver system and enforcement process which were required by the passed legislation.  Please see our blog discussing the CMS EPCS requirements to make sure you remain compliant with the law!

If you reside in any of the states that have enacted mandates this year or prescribe controlled substances for Medicare patients, 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!

Add comment

  • Comment
  • Preview