New York's attempt to become the first state to penalize physicians who don't use e-prescription software has been pushed back a year and an old health information technology villain is being blamed—software that has yet to be certified for provider use.
The delay could serve as a cautionary tale to other states considering similar legislation. California, Missouri and Vermont have explored comparable mandates. Minnesota passed an e-prescription mandate in 2011, but the bill in New York is the first to threaten jail or monetary penalties for violating requirements involving controlled substances.
In New York, doctors weren't ready for the mandate because many of them use electronic health-record software that hasn't yet been certified by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, said Dr. Andrew Kleinman, president of the state medical society.
A spokeswoman for the Electronic Health Record Association, an affiliate of the Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society, defended software companies. Many EHR vendors offer software that is ready for controlled-substance e-prescribing, she said, but development is complicated because of the certification process and the safeguards that must be put in place by physicians.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill this month that postponed the previous March 27 e-prescribing deadline to 2016, three years after the initial law was passed. The New York law includes prescribing for controlled substances, which is why the DEA is required to certify software.