Hack Healthcare: Get a Written Prescription

"Leaving a healthcare facility and need medication? With e-Prescribing mandatory, sometimes written prescriptions make more sense." - Lorelei
Quick Links for Hack Healthcare: Get a Written Prescription

A quick tip to save you time and money at the doctor’s office – taking a look at written prescriptions.

Here’s the situation – you just got care from a hospital, ER, urgent care or leave the doctor’s office and you need medication.

You likely had your medication prescriptions sent to your preferred retail pharmacy to be filled.

four people inside mart pharmacy and woman is giving her written prescription

A few things can happen:

(1) Medication is on backorder and the pharmacy cannot fill the RX.

(2) Medication is too expensive, you refuse to pay.

(3) You want a cheaper generic but prescription wasn’t written to substitute.

(4) Pharmacy is closed.

(5) Your prescriptions was never received by the retail pharmacy.

What Can You Do?

📌 Get a written prescription of all non-controlled substance medication prescriptions. 📌

When you have a written script you can:

(1) Take it to any pharmacy to get it filled thus mitigating pharmacy backorders, “I never got it” and closures.

(2) You can quickly price the medication via your insurance portal because you have the drug name and dosage.

(3) You can verify that the doctor checked the box to allow for generic substitutions.

You reduce your risks and save yourself time and money.

The downside to a written script is that it gets lost.

Caveats & Workarounds

The are some additional details you need to know in order to make this happen.

In 2022, Medicare and many state laws mandate the electronic prescription scripts (e-Scripts) be used UNLESS the situation falls into a few exceptions. Each state varies in how they handle exceptions, exemptions and waivers to the e-prescribing mandate.

MD Toolbox provides a listing of each State’s e-prescribing laws so you can look-up what your state requires.

Many states have exemptions to allow doctors to create written prescriptions “at their discretion.” Many states also do not require any formal waiver request or provide enforcement of the e-prescribing mandate.

If you are trying to get a written prescription for a non-controlled substance/medication, have a conversation with your doctor about your reasons (see above for ideas) and ask that they provide a written prescription script.

Need Help Having that Conversation?

Here are some scripts I use to self-advocate:
  • “Thank you for prescribing me that medication, I think it will be really helpful. Would it be possible to receive a paper, written prescription instead? I’d like to look into where I can get the lowest cost before I fill it.”
  • “I’m concerned that my preferred pharmacy is closed, can you give me a written prescription so that I can go and find a pharmacy that is still open?”
  • “We discussed that I’d only use this medication if I absolutely have to. Since I won’t be using it right away, can I get a written prescription so I can fill it as needed?”
  • “I understand that e-prescribing is mandated, however, I looked up our state laws and they allow for XYZ exemption. It would be much easier for me if I received a paper, written prescription. Would you provide me with one?”

If the doctor still refuses to give you a written prescription, ask for a copy of the e-Script. You will not be able to fill the prescription using the the copy of the e-Script but you can then use it to research the medication and evaluate your costs. If you need to change pharmacies, you can reach out to your doctor and ask them to send the medication to the new pharmacy using another e-Script.

Getting a written prescription script for a controlled substance may be a lot harder, but also not impossible, especially if the pharmacy is unavailable. e-Prescribing became mandated in part due to the opioid epidemic so to comply with the laws, doctors are less likely to provide written prescriptions for controlled substances.

For the actual Code of Federal Regulations regarding medication prescriptions, see PART 1311 – REQUIREMENTS FOR ELECTRONIC ORDERS AND PRESCRIPTIONS.

Message me and let me know if you were able to get a written prescription or if the doctor denied your request.

May You Be Well and May You Find Peace!

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Disclaimer: The information contained within this page is educational in nature and nothing within this page should be taken as medical or financial advice, as it is not medical or financial advice. You should always work directly with a licensed Healthcare Provider or a Certified Financial Professional to discuss and address any of your health-related or financial-related questions, concerns and needs. Please read the full disclaimer in the footer of this website for more information.

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