Your prescriber doesn’t have access to a computer.. you don’t get a prescription ?

tom greeneSenate Panel Considers Bill to Outlaw Handwritten Prescriptions

A three-member Senate panel is delaying a decision on a bill that would require all medical providers to electronically submit drug prescriptions to pharmacies.

Sen. Tom Greene, (R-Burlington), who worked as a pharmacist, says the bill would help curb the abuse of opioids and other controlled substances.

“I’ve so blatantly had people hand me a handwritten prescription the doctor wrote for 10 sleeping pills, and they changed the one to a four,” Greene says. “Easy change.”

The Board of Pharmacy filed the bill, and executive director Andrew Funk told the subcommittee it’s safer for the prescription to go directly from a physician’s computer to a pharmacy’s dispensing software.

“They have that prescription in their hand and can attempt to make copies, can attempt to alter numbers, patients have in the past stolen prescription pads from practitioners and written their own prescriptions,” Funk says. “The electronic prescription requirement would entirely eliminate that piece of potential fraud.”

Funk says about 9 percent of prescriptions filled for controlled substances in Iowa are currently submitted electronically.

The bill as written would take effect July 1, 2019.

Lobbyists for medical providers expressed concern that would be too soon to get the proper software in place.

“That date may be unattainable for some folks, let alone for our smaller rural hospitals and rural physician practices around the state,” says Dennis Tibben of the Iowa Medical Society.

Sen. Liz Mathis, D-Hiawatha, says she understands the urgency behind the proposal, but she is also nervous about some groups who might not be able to make that deadline.

“If we could move that date to January 1st of 2020, it might just be a little fairer to the people who have to comply with this,” Mathis says.

The senators plan to look at changing the effective date and adding another possible amendment before again considering whether to move the bill to the full Senate Human Resources committee. 

The electronic prescribing bill was one of five bills related to prescription drugs considered by the subcommittee Tuesday.

The Senate panel sent the full Human Resources committee a bill that would help fill gaps in Iowa’s system for tracking prescription opioid suppliers.

Funk says pharmacists currently have to report to the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) when they dispense opioids.

“There are also physicians where their practice will hand the product to the patient, and that’s not being reported to the PMP and we’d like to capture that to fill in that potential gap that currently exists,” Funk says.

The bill would also allow the Board of Pharmacy to notify providers when it appears a patient may be having a problem with prescription drug abuse.


7 Responses

  1. Sounds to me like Tom Green made a gaff because any script not only has numbers {10} and is written out {ten} so why would a patient ruin their script by changing the Number? Was he really a pharmacist, I would like to hear his explanation…It also sounds like a plan the Corporative Medical Complex has come up with to try and push more independent practitioners out of business and these lawmakers are willingly obliging them.

  2. “There are also physicians where their practice will hand the product to the patient, and that’s not being reported to the PMP and we’d like to capture that to fill in that potential gap that currently exists,” Funk says.

    I find with this statement not too many if any doctor’s hand pain meds to patients these day’s. Funk and the government’s biggest concern it sounds to me is the reporting to the PMP. Sounds like Big Brother to me.

  3. I live in Iowa and the reason that opioid prescriptions are not submitted electronically, is because the law right now states that you have to have a written script to get them. All doctor offices that I know of already electronically submit their prescriptions, so this switching over is not going to be a problem.

    • so when the doc’s computer is down or the pharmacy computer is down and you have no reserve medication… the pt is going to do what… be thrown into cold turkey withdrawal ? The prescriber’s office won’t even have any paper Rxs on hand that they could use.. I guess the pt will just have to “suck it up”… to bad that our world isn’t all smooth roads and perfect circles…. because that is what this proposed law must consider.. nothing ever goes wrong

      • Or thats what they are hoping for, computers crashing!
        In wi scripts are all electronic except opiates.
        As for changing quantity, I was recently accused of changing the quantity! Drs pen was going out…..I suggested he start writing out the quantity in “cursive” handwriting. Like when writing out a check.
        I would like to point out it wasn’t my usual non chain pharmacy who did this but it was walgreens! My pharmacy isn’t open on Sundays or holidays.

        I’m sure the pharmacies will like all the extra phone calls from patients to see if their script made it to pharmacy via electronically sending, etc.

        All of this will help shut down the illegal drugs entering the country and killing the people buying them!!!

    • I have to disagree, Anonymous. My husband and son’s doctor still uses the “old-school filing system.” Yes, he brings in your file. He actually listens when you speak to him instead of looking at his computer while pecking It would cost them somewhere near $100,000 just to have this system installed in the doctor’s practice. (This was the amount that a few doctors cited in their comments in an article when NY implemented this a year or two ago. I must say that quite a few doctors in NY ended up “retiring” due to the fact that they were sick and tired of government interference). Now let’s also consider the fact that many pharmacies aren’t allowed to keep a decent amount of C2 opioid medications. (This usually applies to the big chains). What happens when someone’s C2 opioid script is sent via e-prescription to a pharmacy that is out of the medication the patient is needing? I can’t remember, but I’m thinking that federal law does not allow for the transfer of a C2. The patient is then forced to get ahold of their doctor (that’s always fun) to get another script e-scripted to another pharmacy, which may or may not have the medication. Due to the risk of robberies, pharmacists will usually not disclose whether they have a specific C2 in stock to a patient over the phone (understandably so). Some have been forced to visit numerous pharmacies with a paper script, only to find out that those numerous pharmacies are out of stock (or are just telling the patient that because they may look “suspicious”). What happens with an e-script? How many times is a doctor willing to reissue an e-script when they have 30 to 40 other patients to see and prescribe to?

      • My understanding until recently what you stated about the E-Rx for a opiate being “dead” if the pharmacy was out of stock or “not comfortable” filling it is correct.. but… DEA is suppose to allow the first pharmacy to electronically transfer it to another pharmacy.. That is at the DEA level…. if all the pharmacies have updated their software – I don’t know … I don’t know if state laws have to be amended to allow this…and/or the “switch” which all E-Rxs travel thru has updated their software. Just because the DEA says that something can be done.. does not mean that the whole infrastructure involved has been changed or how long it will take to conform… is a unknown

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