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Illinois’ E-Prescribing Mandate Takes Effect in 3 Weeks! What Prescribers Need to Know

December 8, 2023

Effective Jan. 1, 2024, Illinois will require all healthcare professionals who write prescriptions for controlled substances to provide them electronicallyunless eligible for a waiver and/or exemption.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) has drafted preliminary guidance that you should be receiving from the Department concerning Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances (EPCS) systems. The notice will cover plans to use an attestation process to allow prescribers to apply for a low-volume waiver. To qualify for an economic hardship waiver, prescribers should maintain documentation about:

  1. Practice income
  2. Expected costs to the practice for implementing an EPCS system

ISMS continues to seek clarification regarding timelines; attestation mechanisms (for example, web links or prescriber portal); thresholds for qualifying for an economic hardship waiver and other details that must be publicized before the Jan. 1, 2024, implementation date.

As we publish today’s Physician Advocate, ISMS has not yet been provided any specific information. Once IDFPR’s guidance and other details become known, ISMS will immediately relay to our members.

For now, document specifically why you are not using EPCS based on the statutory exemptions. Examples of the exemptions include:

  • Prescribers issuing 150 prescriptions or less annually are exempt from the mandate until Jan. 1, 2029. After that, anyone annually issuing 50 prescriptions or less is exempt.

  • Prior to Jan. 1, 2026, waivers will be granted to prescribers who demonstrate a financial hardship. After Jan. 1, 2026, prescribers who offer proof of receiving a waiver from the federal CMS e-prescribing mandate will be waived from the state mandate.

  • If physicians experience any temporary technological or electric failures that prevent a prescription from being transmitted electronically, they will be granted an exception on a case-by-case basis. If a paper prescription is written, be sure to document to the medical record with the reason.

You can review all of the exemptions and waivers pertaining to the e-prescribing mandate by accessing ISMS’ Issue Brief, Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances (EPCS) Implementation.

Learn more by viewing a 30-minute on-demand course, Electronic Prescribing for Controlled Substances, which is available at no cost for members and their staff.

Prescribers can adopt different procedures when formal guidance is issued. If you have questions, please contact ISMS Senior Vice President of State Legislative Affairs Erin O'Brien by email.

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