When Do New Opioid Prescribing Requirements Take Effect?
By David Doolittle

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To combat the ongoing opioid crisis, state lawmakers passed several measures that change how physicians and other health care professionals will prescribe opioids. 

The new laws are designed to reduce prescription fraud, particularly by increasing prescribers’ use of the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program, known as PMP Aware

However, provisions of the laws take effect at different times, so prescribers should be aware of the deadlines and effective dates of each requirement. 

Below is a chart showing when each provision takes effect. 

You can find more information on electronic prescribing at the Texas Medical Association’s online prescribing resource center, or by contacting TMA's HIT Department at (800) 880-5720 or by email

You can also contact TMA’s Knowledge Center via email or at (800) 880-7955 with more questions.

June 6, 2019: Senate Bill 500 took effect.

What SB 500 does:

  • Provides about $6 million to the Board of Pharmacy to upgrade the PMP and to purchase user licenses for all prescribers and pharmacists to have electronic access to the PMP through their electronic health records (EHRs). This will save physicians who were already using that service about $50 a year in fees.

Sept. 1, 2019: Parts of House Bill 2174 go into effect.

What these parts of HB 2174 do:

  • Require that opioid prescriptions for acute pain cannot exceed 10 days and cannot include any refills. This does not include treatments for substance abuse, chronic pain, or cancer care. It also does not include any end-of-life care, like palliative care or hospice.
  • Change some prior authorization rules on opioids. Namely, it provides that medication-assisted opioid or substance abuse disorder treatment will be approved under Medicaid without prior authorization or precertification. This will be done except when needed to minimize fraud, waste, and abuse.
  • Require physicians to take two hours of opioid-related CME during their next licensing period. The CME also will count toward the 2-hour ethics requirement. However, TMA is awaiting specific guidance from the Texas Medical Board on the details of the CME requirement.

March 1, 2020: House Bill 3284 goes into effect

What HB 3284 does:

  • Requires prescribers to check PMP Aware for prescriptions related to opioids, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and carisoprodol. Originally this was scheduled to take place Sept. 1, 2019, but TMA pushed lawmakers for the delay to give EHR vendors more time to make software changes that will allow prescribers to access PMP Aware directly from their EHRs.

Jan. 1, 2021: Other parts of HB 2174 go into effect.

What these parts of HB 2174 do:

  • Require that all opioid prescriptions be done electronically unless a waiver is granted. The requirement coincides with Medicare’s electronic prescription requirement.

Last Updated On

August 02, 2019

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David Doolittle

Editor

(512) 370-1385

Dave Doolittle is editor of Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. Dave grew up in Austin, where he attended culinary school as well as the University of Texas. He spent years covering Central Texas for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. He is the father of two girls, a proud Longhorn, and an avid motorsports fan.

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