Physicians who were unable to file for a Medicare ePrescribing hardship exemption by the original deadline have until Jan. 31 to avoid the 1.5 percent payment penalty in 2013.
Acting upon AMA requests, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has reopened the Communications Support Web page to allow physicians who missed the June 30 deadline to file for an exemption.
Physicians may request a waiver of the 2013 penalty under any of the following categories:
- The physician is unable to ePrescribe as a result of local, state or federal law or regulation.
- The physician wrote fewer than 100 prescriptions during the period of Jan. 1–June 30, 2012.
- The physician practices in a rural area that doesn’t have sufficient high-speed Internet access.
- The physician practices in an area that doesn’t have enough pharmacies that can do ePrescribing.
CMS also added two hardship categories for those participating in Medicare’s electronic health record meaningful use program. Physicians do not need to apply for an exemption related to these meaningful use hardship categories; CMS will automatically determine whether physicians meet those requirements.
Visit the CMS ePrescribing Web page to learn more. Physicians can contact CMS’s QualityNet Help Desk at (866) 288-8912 or via email with questions or for assistance submitting their hardship exemption requests. Support is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time Monday through Friday.
Physicians who use Apple computers may experience technical problems; CMS encourages them to contact the Help Desk for assistance.
Hardship exemption requests for the 2014 payment penalty will be accepted during a separate period this year.
Learn more about the program by visiting the AMA’s Web page on the Medicare ePrescribing program.