Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances Mandate; Effective January 1, 2021

The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, signed into federal law in October 2018, requires, by January 1, 2021, all controlled substance drugs under Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plans must be electronically prescribed and received by the filling pharmacy. Electronic Prescribing for Controlled Substances (EPCS) mandates are helping to address the opioid epidemic and reduce the abuse of prescription drugs.

EPCS can help reduce fraud and abuse of controlled substances, as it is a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)-certified solution, mandated at the state level, requiring proof of identity to ensure that only an authorized prescriber is issuing prescriptions. It has the potential to help reduce medication errors, prescription theft, and forgery, and helps ensure prescriptions are securely transmitted from provider to retail or mail-order pharmacies.

How will Long Term Care Pharmacy be impacted?

The SUPPORT Act included exceptions for certain circumstances, to be specified by the Secretary of HHS. One of the exceptions listed – an individual who is “a resident of a nursing facility (as defined in section 1919(a)) of the Social Security Act.

CMS issued a Request for Information (RFI) on August 4, 2020.  The MHA Legislative Affairs Team has communicated with various stakeholder groups as comments were drafted in response to the RFI. We are in support of submissions calling on this exception to be recognized by the Secretary.  We will update MHA members as further details from CMS are reported.

To review comments submitted by the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP) and the Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition (SCPC), please use the following links:

ASCP Comments     SCPC Comments



Advance Notice Part D 2021 SCPC Comments 3.6.2020 (DOCUMENT)

Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA)
: Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit erred in holding that Arkansas’ statute regulating pharmacy benefit managers’ drug-reimbursement rates, which is similar to laws enacted by a substantial majority of states, is pre-empted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, in contravention of the Supreme Court’s precedent that ERISA does not pre-empt rate regulation.

For updates and information please visit:  SCOTUS Updates: Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (Link)