OptumRx to reinstate policy requiring e-prescribing for controlled substances on July 1

June 19, 2020

OptumRx—the pharmacy benefit provider for UnitedHealthcare—will reinstate its mandatory e-prescribing policy for controlled substances effective July 1, 2020. During the COVID-19 national emergency, OptumRx home delivery pharmacy had suspended its policy to temporarily allow prescriptions for controlled substances received by hard copy, fax or phone to be filled as long as the prescription meets federal and state regulatory requirements.

The California Medical Association (CMA) reached out to UnitedHealthcare and shared concerns that reinstating this policy during the ongoing COVID-19 emergency could have a negative impact physicians and their patients. However, as of today OptumRx has not indicated any plans to extend the suspension of the e-prescribing policy.

If a prescription is submitted to OptumRx home delivery pharmacy for a controlled substance using a means other than e-prescribing on or after July 1, 2020, OptumRx will work with the provider and patient to help get the prescription filled at a local pharmacy if necessary.

For physicians who are unable to submit e-prescriptions due to a hardship or for patients who are unable to obtain or pickup their prescription from a local pharmacy, OptumRx has implemented several exemptions to the e-prescribing requirement. Providers requesting an exemption should email EPCSquestions@optum.com with the following information:

  • A brief description of the obstacle for e-prescribing
  • Your name, address and phone number
  • Your National Provider Identifier (NPI) number

Physicians who have questions about the OptumRx policy should contact UnitedHealthcare at (877) 842-3210 or visit UHCprovider.com.


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