Massachusetts Delays Electronic Prescribing Mandate

Posted by on Comments (0)

Massachusetts passed House Bill 4742An Act for Prevention and Access to Appropriate Care and Treatment of Addiction” in 2018 which mandated prescribers to electronically prescribe all controlled substances by January 1st, 2020.  The bill also required prescribers to utilize the state Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) when writing a prescription for a Schedule II, III, or benzodiazepine.


After taking public comment in the summer of 2019, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health presented proposed amendments to the Public Health Council.  These amendments were approved at the end of September 2019.  The new amendments go into effect on 12/27/19, just ahead of the mandate deadline of 1/1/20. 


The approved amendments that were adopted include:

  • Delay full implementation of the ePrescribing mandate until January 1, 2021;
  • Clarify pharmacists’ role related to filling prescriptions submitted under an ePrescribing exception or waiver;
  • Expand the Schedule VI exception from individuals with a MCSR for Schedule VI only to all Schedule VI medications;
  • Clarify prescriptions that cannot be issued electronically under federal or state law or regulations, including those prescriptions the FDA requires contain elements, such as an attachment, that are not supported through current ePrescribing systems; and
  • Add two additional ePrescribing exceptions as follows:

o   Prescriptions for residents of nursing homes through January 1, 2023, or such later date as determined by the Department; and

o   Prescriptions issued in response to a declared public health emergency, diseases dangerous to public health, or other urgent public health matter. 


The Massachusetts Department of Public Health stated that education and guidance will be forthcoming throughout the remainder of 2019 and through 2020.  This will also include additional guidance to prescribers and facilities regarding the waiver process if more time (past 1/1/21 deadline) is necessary.


MDToolbox recommends adopting electronic prescribing and integrating it into your practice as early as possible to be prepared to meet any approaching deadlines.  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 nation 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