New Bill Introduced in Colorado Would Require Electronic Prescriptions

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Friday, January 18, 2019

A new bill introduced in the Colorado Senate would require electronic prescriptions starting in mid-2021 if passed. The bill is filed for this 2019 legislative session by State Senators Nancy Todd and Kevin Priola and Representatives Daneya Esgar and Lois Landgraf and has been initially referred to the Committee on Business, Labor, and Technology for further discussion. You can review the text of Senate Bill 79 (SB 79) in full here.
SB 79 would require that physicians, physician assistants, advanced practice nurses, podiatrists, and optometrists submit prescriptions for Schedule II-IV substances electronically. If passed SB 79 would take effect after July 1, 2021, with some rural and solo practitioners needing to comply by July 1, 2023. SB 79 does allow practitioners to use written or verbal prescriptions in a number of specific circumstances: 1) they are unable to send it electronically due to a temporary failure of the technology or electricity 2) the prescription is intended to be filled outside of the state 3) the prescription is being dispensed by the prescriber directly to the patient 4) the prescription is non-standard and the information is unable to fit in the electronic form, 5) The Food and Drug Administration requires elements that cannot be satisfied with electronic prescribing 6) the prescription is for a special purpose that is not patient-specific, 7) the prescription is for a research protocol, 8) the prescriber writes fewer than twenty-four prescriptions a year, 9) the prescription is to be administered in a health care facility, or 10) the practitioner determines that the patient would be unable to obtain the prescription in a timely manner and would be adversely affected by the delay. Of note is that SB 79 does not require that the pharmacist verify if one of these above exceptions is applicable when they receive a non-electronic prescription that is otherwise. This bill follows a general trend towards greater use of electronic prescriptions and databases aimed at making the prescription process more secure and less subject to misuse. 
We will be monitoring SB 79 as it works its way through Colorado’s legislative process this year. If you would like to contact SB 79’s sponsors, they can be reached via the legislature’s website.