The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has "recognized," or approved, the use of an updated standard for electronic prescribing under the Medicare Part D drug benefit program. Clinicians now can use version 10.6 of the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs SCRIPT Standard to prescribe electronically.

Version 10.6 is backward compatible with version 8.1, which CMS previously adopted as a national standard. This means that prescribers can continue to use version 8.1 or migrate to 10.1.

In a final interim rule with comment period, CMS explains that "recognition" means version 10.6 can be used but is not yet formally adopted as the new electronic prescription standard. "We anticipate proposing the adoption of NCPDP SCRIPT 10.6 as an adopted standard at a later date in a further notice of proposed rulemaking. At that time, we would propose to adopt NCPDP SCRIPT 10.6 and retire the current adopted standard."

New functions in version 10.6 will enable users to provide prescriber order numbers, drug NDC source information, pharmacy prescription fill numbers and date of sale information that also could be used in a medication history response transaction, according to CMS. "These added functionalities would therefore be expected to facilitate better record matching, the identification and elimination of duplicate records, and the provision of richer information to the prescriber between willing trading partners."

CMS expects to publish the interim final rule on July 1. It is available in a non-final format now at the Federal Register's Public Inspection Desk at

--Joseph Goedert


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