E-Prescibing: Alert on Waivers from the Commissioner

in Clinical & Quality

On Wednesday, March 16, 2017, NYS Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker issued a waiver for Nursing Homes and Residential Health Care Facilities from the e-Prescribing mandate that is set to go into effect on March 27, 2016. A copy of the waiver letter is attached. The Commissioner specifically addresses the SNF/Residential Care Facilities in the fifth and second to last paragraphs and items 8 and 12.

In the opening paragraphs, Commissioner Zucker cites certain exceptional circumstances under which we operate in providing care for our residents, not the least of which is our “heavy reliance” on verbal orders as a means to safely and promptly obtain and administer medications for our residents. NYSHFA has taken the lead on this issue to ensure that the realities of our practice setting, including the need to recognize the ability of our professional nurses to take and transmit verbals orders as agents of the physicians, was acknowledged and included in the Commissioner's decision.

It is important to note that this waiver is for one year, meaning that there is still work to be done. NYSHFA has continued to work with Assemblyman Gottfried and Senator Hannon on legislation (S.6778/A.9334) to amend the e-prescribing law to permanently recognize nurses as agents of the physicians, and allow verbal orders to be accepted and transmitted to the pharmacy for prompt filling, delivery, and ultimate administration.

These bills which have passed the Senate and Assembly respectively, would allow nursing homes a path to compliance with the law should the waiver expire in a year and not be renewed.

In addition, NYSHFA has had two conference calls this week with the Attorney General’s office to update them on our overall concerns with e-prescribing and specifically the agent of the physician and the nurse’s critical role in institutional settings.

Notwithstanding the above initiatives, it is critical for those that have had technology issues or financial hardships and were pursuing the institutional waivers to continue on your path for initiating the E-Prescribing process in order to be compliant by 2017.

NYSHFA will keep our members up to date on E-Prescribing as the Bill moves to the Governor.


Nancy Leveille, RN, MS
Sr. Director, Member Operational Support
518-462-4800 x20

Stephen B. Hanse
Vice President & Counsel
518-462-4800 x25