CMS Issues Final Rule on E-Prescribing

By Emily P. Walker, Washington Correspondent, MedPage Today
Published: September 06, 2011 WASHINGTON — Doctors now have an extra month to apply for a hardship waiver to avoid being penalized for not adopting electronic prescribing in their practices, according to a final rule issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Physicians who use a qualified e-prescribing system are eligible for an additional 1% in Medicare Part B payments in 2011 and 2012, and a 0.5% increase in 2013. Providers who fail to complete at least 10 paperless prescriptions using a qualified e-prescribing system between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2011, will receive a 1% cut in Medicare reimbursements in 2012, a 1.5% cut in 2013, and a 2% cut in 2014.

In a proposed rule from May, CMS said doctors who are unable to e-prescribe should apply for a “hardship exemption” before Oct. 1. In the final rule issued Sept. 1, CMS announced doctors now have until Nov. 1 to apply for an exemption.

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Avoiding the 2012 eRx Payment Adjustment

Via http://www.pbcms.org

An eligible professional can avoid the 2012 eRx Payment Adjustment if he or she: Is not a physician (MD, DO, or podiatrist), Nurse Practitioner, or Physician Assistant as of June 30, 2011, based on primary taxonomy code in the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES); Does not have prescribing privileges and reports G-code G8644 (defined as not having prescribing privileges) at least one time on an eligible claim prior to June 30, 2011; Does not have at least 100 cases containing an encounter code in the measure’s denominator; Becomes a successful electronic prescriber (submits required number of electronic prescriptions (10 for individual) via claims and reports this to CMS before June 30, 2011); or Claims a hardship as described below. A group practice that is participating in eRx GPRO I or GPRO II during 2011: MUST become a successful electronic prescriber (submit required number of electronic prescriptions via claims before June 30, 2011); (Depending on the group’s size, the group practice must report the eRx measure for 75-2,500 unique eRx events via claims for patients in the denominator of the measure). If an eligible professional or selected group practice wishes to request an exemption to the eRx Incentive Program and the payment adjustment, there are two “hardship codes” that can be reported via claims if one of the following situations apply: G8642 – The eligible professional practices in a rural area without sufficient high speed internet access and requests a hardship exemption from the application of the payment adjustment under section 1848(a)(5)(A) of the Social Security Act. G8643 – The eligible professional practices in an area without sufficient available pharmacies for electronic prescribing and requests a hardship exemption from the application of the payment adjustment under section 1848(a)(5)(A) of the Social Security Act.

For additional information, please visit the “How to Get Started” and “Payment Adjustment Information” sections at http://www.cms.gov/erxincentive on the CMS website.