Per Act 96 of 2018, practitioners, excluding veterinarians, will be required to issue electronic prescriptions for Schedule II-V controlled substances beginning Thursday, October 24, 2019.
A practitioner who violates this act is subject to administrative penalties as follows:
- $100 per violation for the first through 10th violations
- $250 per violation for the 11th and any subsequent violations
- The maximum cumulative fine per calendar year cannot exceed $5,000
Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances (EPCS) is a prescriber’s ability to electronically send an accurate, error-free and understandable Schedule II-V controlled substance prescriptions directly to a pharmacy from the point-of-care. It is an important element in improving the quality of patient care, and in order to help combat the current drug epidemic, health care clinicians need up-to-date tools and technology that support appropriate prescribing of controlled substances. EPCS has the potential to minimize medication errors for patients, and reduce prescription forgery, diversion, and theft in Pennsylvania.
The Department of Health is currently in the process of promulgating EPCS regulations in accordance with the act. For more information, please email [email protected].
Frequently Asked Questions
Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances FAQs (last updated: Oct. 2019)
While the department works to promulgate regulations, it is accepting petitions for temporary exemptions from the requirements in Act 96. These temporary exemptions are subject to approval by the department and preliminary in nature, pending final publishing of regulations as stated in Section 11(b.6) of the act. To submit a petition for temporary exemption, please fill out the Act 96 of 2018 Temporary Exemption Form.
DOH Clarifies an Exception in the Law for Practitioners without Internet, EHR
In its guidance, available online here, DOH provides its interpretation of an exception in the law (one of the law’s several exceptions) addressing practitioners and facilities without internet access or an electronic health record (EHR) system.
It is important to be aware that DOH interprets this statutory exception as requiring both elements be met, i.e. a practitioner must lack both Internet access and an EHR system. If a practitioner only lacks one of the two items listed in that statutory exception, then the practitioner would not qualify for the exception.
Practitioners or facilities that may lack an EHR but not internet access, or do not qualify for any other exception contained in the law, should apply for a hardship exemption if they will be unable to comply with the law by the Oct. 24 effective date.
PCMS/ PAMED members with questions on Act 96 can contact the PAMED Knowledge Center at 855-PAMED4U (855-726-3348) or the PCMS office at 215-563-5343 x 101.