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California dentists' top e-prescribing questions answered

CDA answers questions submitted during webinar with iCoreConnect

December 09, 2021 5357

The Jan. 1 deadline to electrically prescribe all medications in California in compliance with state law is fast-approaching.

To help members prepare, CDA on Nov. 30 hosted a free, one-hour webinar with its new Endorsed Services partner iCoreConnect to help dentists understand the process of transitioning from written and phoned-in prescriptions to electronic prescriptions. iCoreConnect also explained how its e-prescribing software iCoreRx is integrated into the dental practice.

CDA compiled questions submitted during the webinar and has answered those questions here. Repeated questions were eliminated, and questions were lightly edited for clarity. CDA members who missed the webinar, or those who wish to watch it again, can find the recording in CDA's Online Learning library.

1. Can I call in or write a prescription? Are there any exceptions to the e-prescribing mandate? 

Electronic data prescribing, or e-prescribing, is required for all medications, including noncontrolled substances, starting Jan 1, 2022. There are limited exceptions, and these include prescriber dispensing and power/internet outage. No exception is based on the quantity of prescriptions written. The exceptions are outlined in the CDA Practice Support resource Prescribing and Dispensing Q&A. Individual pharmacies will determine whether to fill a prescription that is called in or provided in a format other than an electronic data prescription.

2. Can I e-prescribe for noncontrolled substances only, such as antibiotics, and call in directly to the pharmacy for the controlled substances?

No, e-prescribing will be required for all medications, including antibiotics, beginning Jan. 1, 2022.

3. I will not be prescribing any medications in 2022 and beyond. Will I still need to have electronic-subscribing software in place?

If you will not be prescribing any medications, including noncontrolled substances, you do not need to install electronic prescribing software. Be aware that dental plans require contracted dentists to provide necessary prescriptions and that there is liability risk for a dentist who does not prescribe.

4. What if there is a power outage, such as due to a rolling blackout, and our computers go down? Are we required to still have written prescriptions forms at our office for such situations?

Yes, you should retain 2021-compliant prescription forms in case these situations occur. The reason you are not using e-prescribing for controlled substances must be documented in the patient record.

5. If I only work in emergency settings, can I prescribe using the 2021-compliant paper pad during an emergency situation per the exemption?

Possibly, if there is no computer or power available and no internet available on a smartphone. The reason you are not using e-prescribing for controlled substances must be documented in the patient record.

6. We have prescriptions on-site and provide them to patients prior to surgery. Can we still keep these medications (amoxicillin/ibuprofen) on-site to give to patients?

Yes, prescriptions dispensed by the prescriber are exempt from e-prescribing. Dispensing prescribers must comply with storage and record-keeping requirements. For more information, see the CDA Practice Support resource Prescribing and Dispensing Q&A.

7. How does e-prescribing integrate with a medical group, such as Kaiser, that only accepts prescriptions through a call center?

Under state law, all California pharmacies are required to be capable of accepting electronic data prescriptions from all types of health care practitioners. One exception to this is when the prescriber and the dispenser are the same entity (source: Board of Pharmacy FAQ).

8. I know many practitioners who are dropping their DEA license because they no longer write any prescriptions that require the DEA license. Is this a problem for setting up an e-prescribing program?

No, a prescriber is not required to have a DEA registration. They are required to have an active dentist license.

9. What is CURES? 

CURES is the state’s prescription drug monitoring database. Prescribers registered with the DEA are required to be registered to access CURES. Prescribers are required in most situations to check CURES prior to issuing a controlled-substances prescription. Dispensers of controlled substances are required to report dispensing activity to CURES regularly. A portion of dental license fees goes toward the maintenance of CURES. More information is available in the CDA Practice Support resource Prescribing and Dispensing Q&A. 

10. What assistance is CDA providing to help members transition to electronic prescribing? 

CDA negotiated contracts with two companies that offer electronic-prescribing subscriptions with substantially discounted pricing just for CDA members. ePrescribe by Henry Schein One and iCoreRX from iCoreConnect are endorsed by CDA and available to members now. Additionally, CDA Practice Support’s Prescribing and Dispensing Q&A answers questions about prescribing, dispensing and administering both controlled and noncontrolled substances.

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