Illinois’ E-Prescribing Mandate Is Now in Effect! What Prescribers Need to Know

January 5, 2024

As of Jan. 1, 2024, all healthcare professionals who write prescriptions for controlled substances must provide them electronicallyunless eligible for a waiver and/or exemption.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) has issued preliminary guidance indicating that the Department is planning an attestation process to document eligibility for the low-volume and economic hardship waivers as provided for in the legislation. The attestation process will coincide with the prescriber’s license renewal cycle, and prescribers will be attesting to their waiver eligibility in the years preceding the license renewal (for example, for physicians, the next license renewal is in 2026 when they will attest to waiver eligibility for years 2024, 2025 and 2026).

At this point, IDFPR has not advised of any immediate action practitioners must take to receive exemptions. Certification is expected to occur as part of the next license renewal cycle. ISMS is recommending that practices familiarize themselves with the specific exemptions specified in the law. If you believe your practice is eligible for an exemption, ISMS strongly suggests documenting specifically in a patient’s medical record why you are not issuing an electronic prescription, using language consistent with the exemptions in the law.

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.

ISMS will immediately relay to our members any additional guidance from IDFPR so that you may adopt additional processes to ensure compliance.

When pharmacists deny paper prescriptions

Pharmacists should not be denying any paper or faxed prescriptions. The law (720 ILCS 520/311.6 (c-e)) clearly states that pharmacists are not responsible for verifying whether a prescriber is eligible for an EPCS exemption, and they should continue to accept all appropriately issued prescriptions for controlled substances.

If a pharmacy denies your patient’s paper prescription or insists that the prescriber show proof of an approved waiver application, remind them that IDPFR is not providing approved applications or waiver forms, and that the pharmacy is still responsible for filling legal prescriptions. Prescribers can send IDFPR’s guidance describing the waiver attestation process to those pharmacists who are unwilling to fill paper or faxed scripts.

If you have questions, please contact ISMS Senior Vice President of State Legislative Affairs Erin O'Brien by email.

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