Walmart has announced they are delaying a January 1, 2020 policy on requiring electronic prescriptions for controlled substances and would continue to receive paper prescriptions for opioids and anti-depressants at all their locations. The planned move to e-prescribing was part of the retailer’s efforts to reduce the opioid epidemic, but the company reversed its decision after responses from the Arkansas Medical Society, American Medical Association, and other physician organizations.
In a letter to Walmart, the Arkansas Medical Society strongly urged the retailer to not only to consider the many physicians who do not yet have the IT infrastructure to comply with the new policy, but to also not conflict with Arkansas legislation that was passed earlier this year. Act 447 of 2019, passed by the Arkansas General Assembly and signed by Governor Asa Hutchinson, will require electronic prescribing in Arkansas, but not until January 1, 2021. This coincides with the new Medicare e-prescribing requirement that will go into effect on the same date.
The Arkansas Medical Society commends Walmart on its decision to continue accepting paper prescriptions for the patients served by our member physicians. We are in full support for e-prescribing and will continue to work with Arkansas physicians to make sure they are prepared to meet the state mandate and Medicare requirements in January 2021.