Updated Dec. 12, 2019
Electronic Prescriptions for Controlled Substances FAQ
This material contains confidential and copyrighted information of Epic Systems Corporation. How will Epic know which prescriptions should be electronically prescribed? Epic will not know if a patient’s pharmacy or payor requires the use of EPCS. Once your EPCS access is activated in Epic, the system will default all controlled substance prescriptions to electronic prescriptions. You may change any prescription to print by selecting the print button in the order composer. Required Actions 7 How will EPCS work with Epic? Orders are selected, composed and signed in Epic. The system will then prompt the provider to complete the two-factor positive authentication process. This process requires the prescriber to enter their password (something they know—factor 1) and acknowledge the prescription request on their phone (something they have—factor 2) using the installed Imprivata ID application. What does a provider need to do in order to use EPCS? EPCS has more stringent security requirements than prescribing noncontrolled medications, and it requires a provider to authenticate themselves using two factors when signing an order for a controlled substance. This two-factor authentication process is similar to the Duo Security system that UC Health and UC have in place. In order to begin using EPCS, a provider will need to download and install the app, Imprivata ID , onto their smart phone and/or tablet and then enroll in the system. The first time you open the app, you will be prompted to configure several settings. You should allow notifications, though the other settings will not impact our standard EPCS workflow. You can always change these settings later during the enrollment session. The enrollment process (via fingerprinting and identity proofing) must be done in person and can occur at the following locations. The process takes only a few minutes. UC Medical Center: Badging office, main campus, Mont Reid building. Stop in any time between 6:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. West Chester Hospital: Physician lounge, main hospital building, second floor by ICU. Appointment required via Mindy Hays, 513-298-7710. Daniel Drake Center : Physician conference room, North Pavilion, near medical staffing office, Room N1- 22. Appointment required via Terry Kidder, 513-418-5928. What is electronic prescriptions for controlled substances (EPCS)? EPCS will allow providers to electronically prescribe controlled substances. Currently, providers can electronically prescribe medications that are not controlled substances. Electronic prescribing allows providers to sign a prescription in Epic and send it electronically to the patient’s pharmacy. Why should I use EPCS? Any UC Health clinician who writes outpatient prescriptions for controlled substances, even if infrequently, is required to enroll in the EPCS system by Dec. 31, 2019. Several payors have announced that they will require EPCS for the prescribing of all controlled substances, schedule II–V, as early as January 2020. This will continue to increase over time. Notably, Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies, as well as OptumRx, the pharmacy benefits manager for United Healthcare, will require EPCS for controlled substances starting Jan. 1, 2020. OptumRx applies to home delivery. In addition, CMS will require EPCS for controlled substance prescriptions in January 2021. What if I don’t use EPCS or choose not to enroll? Providers who neither enroll nor use the EPCS functionality will increasingly find themselves unable to prescribe controlled substances to their patients as the requirements described above from pharmacies and payors come into effect. It is important to note that the requirement impacts all schedules of controlled substances, not limited to opioids and benzodiazepines . For example, stimulants, some cough syrups and any medication that has a schedule II through V designation will also require EPCS. If you never write prescriptions for controlled substances, you can seek an exemption from this enrollment requirement. If you’re employed by UC Physicians, seek exemption with your department leadership. Community clinicians can seek exemption with the UC Health medical staff office. Residents and fellows can seek exemption with their program directors.
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