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Electronic prescribing requirement delayed until 2016

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill into law pushing back a deadline by one year to implement mandatory electronic prescribing in the state.

New York doctors now have until March 27, 2016 before they'll be required to use only electronic forms to prescribe drugs to patients, which advocates say will curb prescription drug abuse in New York.

The mandate is part of a larger anti-drug diversion law passed in 2012 known as the Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act, or I-STOP. The law also created New York's prescription drug monitoring program.

“Unfortunately, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency moved slowly in certifying vendors who are authorized to transmit electronic prescriptions for controlled substances,” according to the bill. “As a result, many doctors and other prescribers around the state, many of whom have electronic records and e-prescribing capability, have contracts with vendors who have not yet received the necessary federal certification. This legislation will provide additional time to facilitate a smooth and appropriate implementation of electronic prescribing in New York.”

Had Gov. Cuomo not signed the bill into law, “hospitals could have violated state law through no fault of their own,” the Greater New York Hospital Association said in a statement on Friday, the day Gov. Cuomo signed the bill. “New York's hospital community remains supportive of I-STOP and fully committed to ensuring the safety of controlled substances.”