CMS delays enforcement of e-prescribing requirement for controlled substances

December 15, 2020
Area(s) of Interest: Public Payors Drug Prescribing/Dispensing 

In 2018, Congress passed the SUPPORT Act— the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act—to address the opioid crisis. This law requires electronic prescribing for schedule II-V controlled substances covered under a Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage prescription drug plan beginning January 1, 2021.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in the 2021 proposed physician payment rule floated the idea of postponing the electronic prescribing for controlled substances requirement until 2022 due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency.

While the final rule did NOT postpone implementation of this requirement, it does set a compliance date of January 1, 2022. According to CMS, this was done to encourage prescribers to implement e-prescribing of controlled substances as soon as possible, while allowing physicians more time to come into compliance without penalty.


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