Heeding warnings from healthcare providers, pharmacists and patient advocates, both houses of the New York State legislature have passed bills delaying the onset of mandated e-prescribing for one year.

The new legislation, if signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, would delay for one year, to Mar. 27, 2016, the I-STOP (Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing) legislation of 2012, passed by the legislature to help combat the rising rates of prescription drug abuse in New York. The law requires that all New York state providers electronically prescribe both legend and controlled drug prescriptions.

"Unfortunately, the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency moved slowly in certifying vendors   who are authorized to transmit electronic prescriptions for controlled substances," sponsors of the delay legislation said in a memo explaining their reason for introducing the bill. "As a result, many doctors and other prescribers around the state, many of whom have electronic records and e-prescribing capability have contracts with vendors who have not yet received  the necessary federal certification. This legislation will provide additional time to facilitate a smooth and appropriate implementation of electronic prescribing in New York."

A recent analysis indicated that ambulatory EHRs serving approximately 80 percent of New York providers in practices and health systems, and acute EHRs serving approximately 85 percent of New York hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other acute care environments, had both drug e-prescribing and controlled substance e-prescribing capabilities either already live or on target to be available to users in advance of the March deadline.

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