EPCS Background and Related FAQs

Staying on track with new privacy and security mandates can be dizzying for all physicians and their office staff.

For instance, federal law historically required that a prescription for a controlled substance be issued in writing and this requirement could only be fulfilled by the issuance of a paper prescription. In 2010, the federal law requiring a prescription for a controlled substance be issued in writing was changed. The Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) electronic prescribing for controlled substances (EPCS) ruling permitted physicians to submit their prescriptions to pharmacies electronically. With this innovative EPCS rule, the DEA permitted pharmacies to receive and dispense electronic prescriptions instantly helping increase security measures and drug monitoring protocols.

Drummond’s EPCS experts are ready to help doctors, nurse practitioners, and pharmacists stay on track as they navigate through the federal and state and requirements surrounding controlled substance e-prescribing.

Our unique approach and detail-oriented services will help your staff gain expertise and a deeper understanding of the DEA regulations, including any updates as they are introduced.

The following is a list of frequently-asked-questions (FAQs) designed by Drummond’s experts to illustrate the benefits of the EPCS ruling after all these years:

Electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS) was adopted by the DEA to allow pharmacies to receive, dispense and archive the electronic transmission of prescriptions in a digital, trackable manner for the prescriber and the pharmacy. Essentially, it eliminates paper prescriptions.

The significance and benefits of e-prescribing was included in the federal government’s mandate, “H.R. 3528, Every Prescription Conveyed Securely Act” – the first deadline was Jan. 1, 2020.

Using appropriate technology is critical and benefits managers, pharmacies and healthcare providers must deploy appropriate software and technology to fulfill requirements to use EPCS for the Medicare Part D program, which took effect Jan. 1, 2021. However, the compliance date has been changed and set for Jan. 1, 2022, to encourage prescribers to implement EPCS sooner than later and allow physicians more time to fulfill compliance requirements without penalty.

EPCS certification applies to software used for the transmission or receipt of electronic controlled substance prescriptions. Individual providers or pharmacies are not required to undergo certification.
The state mandates for EPCS will require you to implement an EPCS certified product and use it for transmission of controlled substance prescriptions.
If your software does not support controlled substance e-prescribing, you may be out of compliance with state EPCS mandates or the federal mandate for prescriptions covered under Medicare Part D.

The Drummond Group list of certified EPCS products may be found at: https://www.drummondgroup.com/certified-products-2/epcs/ 

Additionally, products that support EPCS are listed here: https://surescripts.com/network-alliance/eprescribing-prescriber-software/.

You may implement a certified EPCS solution or encourage your existing electronic health record (EHR) provider to implement and become certified for EPCS functionality. And, encourage your software provider to reach out to Drummond at epcs@drummondgroup.com.

Here is a link to Drummond Certified™ EPCS software: https://www.drummondgroup.com/certified-products/epcs/

Check out our case studies to see the benefits of being certified for EPCS:

“Drummond has served us well for our ONC and EPCS/DEA certifications and provided important guidance to us over the past two years. Drummond’s team of experts and their certification processes gave us confidence in knowing that we are compliant with regulatory mandates and in supporting our practices in enhancing patient care.”

– Product Manager, AmerisourceBergen, IntrinsiQ Specialty Solutions
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“As a longtime client of Drummond, we have found a proven partner for compliance around the DEA EPCS regulatory requirements. Drummond has shared their expertise and proven methodologies to ensure we maintain compliance as required.”

– Chief Software Officer, Bravado Health
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Additional questions? You may email us anytime: epcs@drummondgroup.com

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Drummond's guide to EPCS Recertification

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Drummond's guide to Initial EPCS Certification

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