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CDA reminds California-licensed dentists that they are required to begin using tamper-resistant prescription pads when prescribing controlled substances no later than Jan. 1, 2021. Among other security features, the compliant forms contain a 12-character serial number and a barcode linked to corresponding records in California’s prescription drug monitoring database known as CURES.
Also taking effect in January 2021 are two laws related to controlled-substance prescribing for Medicare beneficiaries and reporting requirements for controlled-substance dispensing.
Ordering compliant prescription pads
Prescribers must order the compliant prescription pads by directly contacting one of the approved “security prescription printers” listed on the state Department of Justice website. “Forms Approved as AB-149 Compliant” should appear adjacent to the name of the printing company, but prescribers should confirm with the printer that the forms do in fact meet the new serial-number requirements for 2021 as mandated by Assembly Bill 149, which was signed into law in 2019.
When placing an order, prescribers will need to provide their state license number and a copy of their DEA registration.
Electronic prescribing for Medicare beneficiaries
Beginning Jan. 1, as mandated by the federal SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act of 2018, prescribers will no longer be able to write paper prescriptions for schedule II-V substances for patients covered under Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage prescription drug plans.
Medicare-eligible patients can pay for their prescriptions using such federal benefit plans, but beginning in January, pharmacists may reject written prescriptions for controlled substances, which would then require the patient to pay out of pocket for the medication or to ask the dentist to submit an electronic prescription to the pharmacy.
Electronic prescribing will become mandatory in California for all prescribers starting in January 2022, as CDA first reported in 2018. Dentists can switch to e-prescribing sooner to get ahead of the requirement. CDA Regulatory Compliance Analyst Teresa Pichay explains How to start prescribing controlled substances electronically.
New reporting requirements for controlled-substance dispensing
Pharmacists and prescribers who dispense controlled substances must report each dispensing of a schedule II-V drug to CURES within one working day of releasing the medication to the patient or patient’s representative as mandated by AB 528. Previously, pharmacists and dispensing prescribers had seven days to report the dispensing. AB 528 also added schedule V drugs to the reporting requirement, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2021. Again, the reporting requirement applies only to pharmacists and dispensing practitioners.