What You Need to Know About Mandatory E-Prescribing Controlled Substances
By David Doolittle


As you’re probably already aware, all physicians are required to electronically prescribe controlled substances under state and federal laws that took effect Jan. 1.

However, for the state requirement, prescribers who demonstrate financial or technical hardships, or other exceptional circumstances, could be eligible for a waiver from the Texas Medical Board (TMB) that, if approved, will grant a one-year delay.

There also are several exceptions to the state e-prescribing mandate that do not require a waiver, including a temporary technological or electronic failure, certain emergencies, or when a physician or physician’s delegate issues a prescription to be dispensed by an out-of-state pharmacy.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has delayed enforcement of the federal law for e-prescribing controlled substances in the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program until Jan. 1, 2022, to allow physicians time to comply without risk of penalty. However, physicians who do not comply with the Jan. 1 state mandate could still be subject to disciplinary action, unless the physician receives a TMB waiver or qualifies for a state-law exception.

If you’re still unclear about the law, the waivers, and the exceptions, the Texas Medical Association has created a “frequently asked questions” (FAQ) document that can help you understand the requirements.

The FAQ, which is based on information from the TMB and CMS, answers questions such as:

  • How do I sign up for e-prescribing controlled substances?
  • Do I qualify for an exception to the mandate to e-prescribe controlled substances?
  • Am I eligible for a waiver, and if so, how do I apply?
  • If I delegate my prescription authority, does my delegate need a separate waiver?
  • Can a hospital or practice apply for a blanket waiver for physicians practicing in the entity?

Find more information on e-prescribing controlled substances by visiting TMA’s Prescribing Resource Center regularly.

Last Updated On

January 12, 2021

Originally Published On

January 11, 2021