Health Commerce System

Overview & News

Prescription Monitoring Program

Electronic Prescribing Waiver Application Now Available Through the Health Commerce System

The Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement has announced the availability of the Electronic Prescribing Waiver (EPW) application on the Health Commerce System (HCS). This application allows a Practitioner, Medical Group Practice or Institution to submit a request for a waiver from the requirement to electronically prescribe, but requires detailed information and documentation for each request.

Instructions for using the online application based on the type of requester: 

A paper version for each requester type is available upon request. More on this process and the E-Prescribing deadline will follow in upcoming YCIA editions.

Frequently Asked Questions For Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances

Click here to review the Laws and Regulations for Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances (EPCS) as well as an FAQ
Revised: January 2016

Standalone E-Prescribing Vendor List

Additional Resources

Pain Management Courses (worth CME!)

  • SAFE Opioid Prescribing
  • Pri-Med Courses
  • Pri-Med Opioid Screening Now Available

    With approximately 100 million adults in the U.S. suffering from chronic pain, the nonmedical use of prescription opioids has become a public health issue, and prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to establish the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) mandate.  A total of 26 Continuing Medical Education (CME) and Continuing Education providers, including ACP, have created educational initiatives to help prescribers ensures that the benefits of a drug outweigh the risks for patients receiving extended release and long acting opioids.

    ACP developed online training modules, with Pri-Med, to educate clinicians about best practices when prescribing opioids to patients and to help prescribers manage risk for abuse and inappropriate use. The REMS training modules provide comprehensive educational information for primary care clinicians, and can be completed for CME credit.  Access the online modules for additional information. 

    A brief video from Steven Weinberger, MD, FACP, executive vice president and CEO of ACP, highlights the initiative’s goal of reducing misuse, abuse and overdose deaths associated with prescription opioids. 

    Note: an ACP Username/password is required to login)

New York State Department of Health



What is the I-STOP Act?


The I-STOP (Or the Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing) Act was passed by the New York State legislature to help combat the rising rates of prescription drug abuse in New York. The law requires that:

  • Expansion and mandatory consultation of the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP prior to issuing any prescription for a controlled substance in New York State
  • E-prescribing of all substances, including controlled substances, by March 27, 2016
      (note – recently extended from the original e-rx requirement date of March 27, 2015)
  • Changes by the State to controlled substance schedules
  • Establishment by the State of a Prescription Pain Medication Awareness Program
  • Creation of a safe disposal program (operated through some local police departments)

The Prescription Monitoring Program

How to Gain Access to the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP)

The online PMP program, formerly referred to as the Controlled Substance Information program (CSI), gives you access to review your patients' recent controlled substance prescription history at any time, therefore, giving you more information to exercise your professional judgment in treating your patients.  After logging into your HCS account, the PMP can be accessed from the first page of the HCS by clicking onto the NYS PMP logo.

Currently, any New York State licensed prescriber who holds a valid DEA registration must access the PMP registry prior to issuing a legend of controlled substance prescription. Each prescriber must have an individual Health Commerce System Account (HCS) to gain access.

You can also access the PMP by following these directions:

  1. Go to the HCS at: https://commerce.health.state.ny.us      
  2. Log onto the system with your user ID and password (If you can't remember your password, call the Commerce Account Management Unit at 1-866-529-1890, Option 1, for assistance).
  3. Click on the PNP Icon
  4. Log in
  5. Click to open the program                                                                  
  6. Enter patient information and your DEA registration number
  7. Review the Frequently Asked Questions within the application for further information

The Benefits of the Enhanced Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP)

The Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) registry will provide practitioners with confidential reports from data provided by pharmacies across the state.  Accessed through the secure, online New York Health Commerce System, results will be available in real-time. The registry is a tool to help enhance understanding of a patient’s controlled substance utilization, guide management, and improve quality of care.  For questions related to the Prescription Monitoring Program, the NYS Department of Health Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement has a toll-free number that you can call: 1-866-811-7957.

How Does This Affect My Practice?

Practitioners are required to consult the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) registry in most cases prior to prescribing any controlled substance listed in Schedule II, III or IV. In order to consult  the registry, practitioners must have an established Health Commerce Account. 

Practitioners are permitted to designate another person employed by or under contract with their practice to access information from the Registry on behalf of the practitioner, however the duty to consult and review is with the prescriber. Instructions on how to designate another person are found below and you can register unlicensed professionals now for a health commerce account.

Exceptions to the "Duty to Consult" include:

  • Practitioner administering a controlled substance
  • For use within an institutional dispenser
  • Emergency Department (if limited to a 5 day supply)
  • Practitioner is unable to access in a timely manner (5 day supply)
  • Consultation would adversely impact a patient’s medical condition
  • Hospice
  • Methadone programs
  • Technological failure of PMP or practitioner’s hardware
  • Practitioner has been granted a waiver by DOH based on technological limitations or exceptional circumstances not within practitioner’s control

Talking with Patients About Substance Abuse, Diversion and I-STOP

As of right now, there is not a specific fact sheet for patients regarding the ISTOP Act. 

Treatment program information is available from the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services atwww.oasas.ny.gov or by calling 1-877-846-7369. You may also access the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website at www.buprenorphine.samhsa.gov to locate a participating opioid addiction physician in your area.

NYSDOH patient education materials are available and include the following. You may call this number to request copies of any of these materials: 1-866-811-7957

 There is a Prescription Drug Awareness section on the NYSDOH Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement website, with a number of brochures/posters that you can request copies of at no charge:


In addition, there are a few materials physicians can use in their practice:

After reviewing the PMP for a patient, if the practitioner suspects diversion, there is link on the bottom of the Confidential Drug Utilization Report to report a prescription discrepancy, or you may send questions or comments about the report to the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement.  The practitioner may also contact the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement office in your area to speak to a narcotic investigator:

  • Albany/Central Office: (866) 811-7957 Opt. #2
  • Western Area Regional Office (Buffalo Area): (716) 847-4532
  • Rochester Office: (585) 423-8043
  • Syracuse Office: (315) 477-8459
  • New York City Metropolitan Area Regional Office: (212) 417-4103

ACP Center for Practice Support Resources:

The Health Commerce System

What is the Health Commerce System (HCS)? 

The Health Commerce System is a secure online communications system operated by the NYS Department of Health.  It supports the exchange of routine and emergency statewide health information by local health departments and health facilities, providers and practitioners.  Through this system, practitioners now order official prescription pads, subscribe to public health alerts through the Health Alert Network, and access registries along with other health information exchange applications that focus on preparedness, planning, communications, response and recovery. 

To access the Health Commerce System, please visit:  https://commerce.health.state.ny.us    If you already have a HCS account, check to make sure your password is up to date

Are You Having Trouble Logging Into the Health Commerce System for Use in I-STOP, E-Prescribing or Ordering Prescription Forms?

On November 18, 2015, the Health Commerce System (HCS), New York State DOH's primary resource for communications with licensed physicians, implemented several important updates to their interface. As a result, older internet browsers and operating systems may not work properly. You can test the compatibility of your browser at https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/viewMyClient.html 

Due to application and data security requirements, HCS support for unsecured Internet browsers and operating systems will be discontinued. Specifically, this change will target older versions of Internet Explorer (versions 6, 7, 8 and 9) and the Windows XP operating system.  Windows XP reached its end-of-life on April 8, 2014 and has not received security updates for over 19 months and is therefore considered unsecure. Microsoft has announced that "beginning January 12, 2016, only the most current version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical support and security updates" (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/gp/microsoft-internet-explorer). Older versions of Internet Explorer will rapidly become unsecure and the transmission or exchange of data through these browsers and Windows XP is at risk.

To upgrade your operating system please visit http://www.microsoft.com to determine if your computer is compatible with the latest Windows operating system and if you qualify for a free upgrade or will have to purchase a license. Please note that Windows 10 users will still need to install Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 or Google Chrome as most of HCS applications do not yet support the Microsoft Edge browser.

On the Windows platform, the HCS currently supports Microsoft Internet Explorer and Google Chrome, and offers partial support for Mozilla Firefox. Download the latest version of these browsers from the following links:

If you require any further assistance, please contact the NYACP Office at 518-427-0366 and ask for Ben Max.

Obtaining a Health Commerce System Account

 Obtaining a HCS Account for LICENSED Medical Professionals

 Obtaining a HCS Account for UNLICENSED Medical Professionals

  • Paperless Process
  • Does not require signature and a notary
  • Have NYS DMV Driver License or
    NYS DMV Non-driver Photo ID ready*.
  • You can apply here
  • Need help? Quick Reference sheet
  • If you do not know your HCS Coordinator, please call
    Commerce Accounts Management Unit (CAMU)
    at 1-866-529-1890 option1 (M-F 8am-4:45pm)
  • Paperless Process
  • Two step process that requires NYS DMV Driver License or
    NYS DMV Non-driver Photo ID*
  • It is recommended to review the reference guide before applying
  • Please see your HCS Coordinator to apply
  • If you do not know your HCS Coordinator, please call
    Commerce Accounts Management Unit (CAMU)
    at 1-866-529-1890 option1 (M-F 8am-4:45pm)

*If no valid Photo ID is available, licensed medical professionals can still apply by using the existing process, which requires a signature and a notary

For Unlicensed Professionals:

  1. Register for a Health Commerce System account through the New York State Department of Health
  2. Enroll your account on the HCS. This step must be done with the HCS Coordinator

Refer to this quick reference guide for assistance
Users can refer to Step A
Coordinators can refer to Step B

ROPES: Registration for Official Prescriptions and E-Prescribing Systems

The online registration process for registering certified Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substance (EPCS) software application(s) with the Department of Health, Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement (BNE) is known as ROPES: Registration for Official Prescriptions and E-Prescribing Systems.

ROPES allows the practitioners to renew their registration for the Official Prescription Program (OPP) and register their certified electronic prescribing software application(s) for controlled substances. Practitioners that do no issue prescriptions for controlled substances do not have to obtain certified EPCS software and, therefore, do not have to register their E-prescribing software for non-controlled substances with BNE.

The practitioner’s certified EPCS software application(s) must be registered with BNE after the practitioner has completed ALL three of the following:

  1. Implementation of the certified EPCS software application(s) into production;
  2. Identity proofing; and
  3. Receipt of the two-factor authentication credentials

Should you have any questions regarding numbers 2 and 3 above, please consult your e-prescribing software vendor or review the DEA Interim Final Rule section 1311.100 at http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov. Once all three of these steps are completed, the practitioner should complete the EPCS registration using ROPES.

How to access ROPES and register for OPP and EPCS:

  1. Login to the Health Commerce System at https://commerce.health.ny.us
  2. Select “My Content” at the top of the page
  3. Scroll down and select “All Applications”
  4. Scroll over and select “R”
  5. Scroll down and select ROPES
  6. Follow screen prompts to renew your OPP registration – confirm address information is correct
  7. Click button “Register EPCS System”
  8. Enter certified EPCS software information or select software from the dropdown menu
  9. Click “Yes” if you agree with the EPCS Attestation

Additional information regarding EPCS may be found at the following link: http://www.health.ny.gov/professionals/narcotic/electronic_prescribing/

Should you have any questions about ROPES, please contact BNE by email at narcotic@health.ny.gov or by phone at 866-811-7957, Option 1.

In addition, the New York State Department of Health has an FAQ that covers a variety of questions pertaining to EPCS and ROPES that can be accessed here.


The New York State Department of Health Has Issued the Following Statement:

“The updated Prescription Monitoring Program Registry is operational and has been available on-line since June 12, 2013. All users must access the PMP Registry through the Department of Health's secure Health Commerce System ("HCS"). With the upcoming effective date of the I-STOP law requiring the use of the PMP Registry, a large late surge of practitioners are now submitting requests for HCS accounts. Although the Department of Health is working diligently to process all requests, this significant influx has resulted in a delay in processing accounts.

During this transition period, practitioners who are making a good faith effort to apply but are unable to establish HCS accounts, should continue to provide treatment to their patients in the same manner as they currently do, including the prescribing of controlled substances without accessing PMP Registry. We expect this transition period to last through October.”

The statement can be accessed by visiting: http://www.health.ny.gov/professionals/narcotic/prescription_monitoring



Laurie Cohen, Esq., Partner at Nixon Peabody and Chapter's Legal Counsel

Last Updated: 2.3.2016

New York Chapter of the American College of Physicians
744 Broadway, Albany NY 12207
Tel: 518-427-0366
Fax: 518-427-1991
Email: info@nyacp.org