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8/7/2017 Ackerman, Crowley bill that makes electronic prescriptions the standard in R.I. becomes law
STATE HOUSE — Legislation introduced by Rep. Mia Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln) and Sen. Elizabeth A. Crowley (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket) that makes the electronic transmission of pharmaceuticals the standard in Rhode Island has become law.

The legislation (2017-H 5975A, 2017-S 0546aa) also provides for protection of patient privacy in regard to electronic prescriptions. Gov. Gina Raimondo signed the legislation today during a ceremony at Recovery Navigation Program in Providence.

“Currently, the law provides physicians with the option of transmitting prescriptions electronically. This legislation makes it standard. E-prescribing significantly reduces pharmacy errors and fraudulent prescriptions,” said Representative Ackerman. “This is important legislation for improving patient care and safety. We put a three-year timeframe into the bill, which gives plenty of time for the medical community to convert their systems.”

Opioid antagonists, such as naloxone, will also be added to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program provided the information collected is used for statistical, research or educational purposes only.

“This system is really the only effective way to track the use of naloxone,” said Representative Ackerman. “And reporting its use is important to public health policy because it will allow the drug to be more effectively distributed to the communities that need it most. It’s gratifying to be part of Rhode Island’s efforts to stem the tide of this national epidemic.”

The new law requires the removal of patient, recipient, or prescriber information that could be used to identify individual patients or recipients of opioid antagonists.

“Patient privacy and removing the stigma of opioid antagonists is an important component of this legislation,” said Senator Crowley. “The use of naloxone reported to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program would be invisible to both the prescriber and the pharmacist. It’s one-way reporting that will be used for public health purposes only.”

The law ultimately increases access to naloxone, which is part of the governor’s strategic action plan to reduce overdose deaths in Rhode Island.

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903