NY prepares for e-prescribing as Senate passes opioid addiction bill

E-prescribing rules aim to prevent fraud; New bill includes more resources to track prescriptions nationwide
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Prescribing practices are at the center of fraud prevention and opioid addiction treatment as New York prepares for a new e-prescribing law and as new opioid addiction legislation passed easily through the U.S. Senate.

After a one-year delay, providers in New York are preparing for the state's new electronic prescribing law that takes effect March 27, according to the New York Times. Although some of the state's major health systems have said they aren't prepared for the new regulation that bans paper prescriptions except in rare circumstances, the law has helped New York achieve the highest rate of e-prescribing for controlled substances.

The first part of the law, known as I-Stop, went into effect in 2013, requiring physicians to access an online registry to check for a history of drug abuse before prescribing a controlled substance, according to the Times. The second part, due to take effect at the end of the month, requires physicians to prescribe drugs electronically, which proponents of the law believe will curtail fraud.

"Paper prescriptions had become a form of criminal currency that could be traded even more easily than the drugs themselves," Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman told the Times. "By moving to a system of e-prescribing, we can curb the incidence of these criminal acts and also reduce errors resulting from misinterpretation of handwriting on good-faith prescriptions."

Meanwhile, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016, aimed at attacking opioid addiction, overwhelmingly passed the Senate with a vote of 94-1. The bill includes several initiatives to curb opioid abuse, including requirements to improve state drug monitoring programs that would track prescription drug diversion, an attempt to close the current loopholes that allow "individuals to game the system and obtain more drugs than they should."

The nod towards a practice commonly known as "doctor shopping" addresses an issue that cost four states $33 million in 2011. Previous reports showed that New York's intitial provision of I-Stop, which tracked prescription drugs, cut doctor shopping by 75 percent.

To learn more:
- read the New York Times article
- here's the CARA summary

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New York boasts highest rate of e-prescribing for controlled substances
Prescription drug tracking database cuts doc shopping by 75%
Doctor shopping cost four states $33 million in Medicaid fraud
N.Y. lawmakers push for one-year delay on electronic prescribing requirement