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AMA Urges Providers to Avoid E-prescribing Penalties
In 2008, the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act established a five-year incentive program to promote the use of e-prescribing among eligible providers and physicians. The program, which began in 2009, also includes a penalty phase (from 2012 to 2014) for those who fail to e-prescribe. Final regulations for 2013 were released last November, and providers who do not meet the stipulated requirements will face a 1.5 percent payment reduction for all medical claims in 2013 based on fee schedule amounts for that year.
The e-prescribing deadline for 2012 is June 30, and participating physicians must send out at least ten e-prescriptions by then to avoid getting penalized. According to a fact sheet put out by AMA, eligible providers who do not think they will be able to send out the required e-prescriptions before the June deadline can apply for exemption based on a number of criteria, including the following:
- Your practice is located in a rural area without high speed internet access.
- Your practice is located in an area without sufficient available pharmacies for e-prescribing.
- You are unable to electronically prescribe due to local, State or Federal law or regulation, (e.g., physicians who mainly prescribe narcotics but because of state law cannot submit these prescriptions electronically can apply for this exemption category).
- You prescribe fewer than 100 prescriptions between January 1, 2012 and June 30, 2012.
Though the American Medical Association (AMA) does not agree with the timeframes established by CMS, AMA’s Immediate Past-President, Cecil B. Wilson, is urging providers to keep the June 30th deadline present. “While we do not think physicians are being given enough time to comply with the Medicare e-prescribing program,” said Wilson, “we want to make them aware of the upcoming e-prescribing deadline so they can take steps now to prevent being hit with the 2013 penalty.”