Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Smooth and Appropriate Transition?

[While Borepatch convalesces, I take the liberty of expounding on this matter in this Blog.].

In 2012, the New York State Legislature decreed that all prescriptions for medications be in electronic form. The deadline was 27 March 2015.

This past Friday, Governor Cuomo signed legislation extending the witching hour for compliance an additional year, to 27 March 2016.

The justification for the bill: "Unfortunately, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency moved slowly in certifying vendors who are authorized to transmit electronic prescriptions for controlled substances. 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."

There still are many physicians who practice solo or in small groups, and who are not geared to electronic prescriptions. Ditto with the small independent pharmacists. They have bombarded their State Legislators with complaints. And, at least in the case of one acquaintance of mine, have enlisted their patients in the lobbying effort.

And so, Andy Cuomo signed the one-year reprieve.

But once the Feds get up to speed, there will be other issues to deal with.

[N.B. My wife has had a multiple occasions to deal extensively with the issues behind electronic prescriptions in her service on various committees at the hospital where she is on staff. She saw this one coming as soon as the 2012 legislation was signed.].

Like the system going down, as it did last week at one of the BigChainPharmacy outlets we frequently use. My scrip was delayed for almost the entire day, as was that of a friend of ours, whose need was significantly more pressing than my own.

Of greater concern (and here's where Borepatch readers might take note): The system getting hacked and personal data getting into the wrong hands. If When that happens:

** Physician impersonators would be able to write multiple scrips for controlled substances such as oxycodone or amphetamines.

** Personal information of the patients would be usable in identity theft schemes.

And there would be repercussions. Physicians whose identities are stolen would be called on the carpet, and possibly have their practices placed in lockdown until they could show that they were identity theft victims. Patients whose identities are stolen can face credit score problems or worse.

It was only last month that the Anthem healthcare insurance concern was hacked. And the hack was not necessarily an outside job.

Time will tell just how "smooth and appropriate" New York's implementation of electronic prescribing will be.


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