Arizona Delays E-Prescribing Mandate

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Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed House Bill 2075 into law on February 14th, 2019.  This bill amends and addresses issues with the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act (HB 1001) that was signed into law on January 26th of 2018.  In an effort to combat opioid abuse, the law mandates that prescribers electronically prescribe schedule II controlled substances. The original deadlines were 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. However, there were several concerns that the original law was passed rather quickly and significant changes have been made to the policy in the latest bill.

The Arizona State Board of Pharmacy1 lists the major provisions to HB 1001 as:

  • Moves the 2019 implementation dates for urban and rural counties to January 1, 2020 for all counties.
  • Allows for written prescriptions if the e-prescribing system is not operational or available in a timely manner, the occurrence must be noted in records maintained by the pharmacy for a period of time set by the Arizona Board of Pharmacy.
  • Exempts requirements for Indian Health Services and federal facilities.
  • Eliminates the waiver process through the Arizona Board of Pharmacy but provides rulemaking authority in consultation with a Task Force to add additional exceptions.
  • Delays e-prescribing requirements for veterinarians until e-prescribing software is widely available.
  • Allow for prescriptions to be faxed if the prescription is compounded for direct administration to a patient, residents of a long-term care facility and hospice patients.
  • Resolves a statutory conflict that inadvertently imposed a prohibition on physician assistants prescribing more than a 72-hour dosage of opioids or benzodiazepines.
  • Contains a retroactive clause to December 31, 2018 so the legislation takes effect immediately once it becomes law.

Over 40,000 healthcare providers2 in Arizona applied for a waiver to exempt themselves from the requirement to e-prescribe.  The waivers were granted to those who lacked adequate internet access or faced other hardships restricting their access to use e-prescribing software.  With the passing of HB 2075, on January 1st 2020 almost all providers in the state of Arizona will need a method of e-prescribing controlled substances per the law as there will not be a waiver process. 

While the deadline has been extended for providers to adopt e-prescribing in Arizona, MDToolbox encourages prescribers not to wait. The advantages of e-prescribing are countless and it’s been proven to be an important tool for preventing opioid abuse. Contact us today for a demo or free trial to see just how easy it is!




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