Bipartisan Senate bill would require EPCS nationwide to fight opioids
A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators – Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts; Michael Bennet, D-Colorado; Dean Heller, R-Nevada, and Pat Toomey, R-Pennsylvania – introduced a bill on Feb. 27 that seeks to harness health IT to help combat the opioid crisis.
The Every Prescription Conveyed Securely Act would mandate electronic prescriptions for all controlled substances under Medicare.
"We need to be using every tool at our disposal to fight the opioid epidemic," said Warren in a statement, noting that EPCS would "help gather better data on the opioid epidemic while also helping health care providers make the best decisions for their patients."
A recent Department of Justice report found that misused prescription opioids are often obtained illegally using forged or altered prescriptions and by consulting multiple doctors. It also determined that most prescription fraud remains undetected.
The EPCS Act seeks to reduce the number of opioids obtained through such phony prescriptions and prevent doctor shopping. The legislation would direct health care providers to use electronic prescribing for controlled substances for Medicare Part D transactions beginning in 2020.
"An epidemic of this magnitude requires us to address all aspects of the problem, starting with how providers prescribe opioids," said Bennet. "This bipartisan legislation would expand a critical tool to track the use of opioids, ultimately reducing overdoses and saving lives."
Companion legislation, H.R. 3528, was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congresswoman Katherine Clark, D-Massachusetts, and Congressman Markwayne Mullin, R-Oklahoma.
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