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CMS Sets New E-Prescribing Exemptions
Prevent the 1-percent Medicare penalty on January 1, 2012


Physicians who did not successfully e-prescribe ten prescriptions (and report it on a claim form with G-code G8553) by June 30, 2011, are subject to a 1-percent Medicare penalty on January 1, 2012.  Thanks to advocacy from the Texas Medical Association and others, the CMS announced August 31 four new hardship exemptions that physicians can claim to prevent the penalty:     

1.  Eligible professionals who register to participate in the Medicare or Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs and adopt certified EHR technology;    

2.  Inability to prescribe electronically due to local, state, or federal law or regulation;     

3.  Limited prescribing activity; or     

4.  Insufficient opportunities to report the electronic prescribing measure.

Physicians have until Nov. 1, 2011 to request the exemption.  This deadline also applies to the two previously announced hardship exemptions:     

1.  Eligible practices in a rural area without sufficient high-speed Internet access;     

2.  Eligible practices in an area without sufficient available pharmacies for electronic prescribing.

Instructions on how to request a hardship will soon be available on the CMS e-Prescribing Incentive Program website at .  TMA will keep physicians informed as the deadline for claiming the exemption approaches.   TMA signed on to the  AMA comments to the proposed rule that resulted in these important changes for physicians.   You can also  subscribe to Action, the bimonthly TMA newsletter to stay informed of important information in the future.

Receive a 1-percent Medicare Incentive for 2011

There is still time to receive a 1-percent Medicare bonus by successfully e-prescribing 25 prescriptions (and report it on a claim form with G-code G8553) by Dec. 31, 2011.  Writing 25 e-prescriptions by Dec. 31, 2011 also will prevent a 2013 e-prescribing penalty.  Details on the e-prescribing  program are available in
TMA’s 2011 E-Prescribing informational paperE-mail or call the TMA HIT helpline for more information at (800) 880-5720. 

If you need assistance with e-prescribing, turn to the Texas regional extension centers (RECs). RECs provide support to primary care physicians to help with e-prescribing, EHR selection, workflow analysis, staff training, EHR incentives, and much more. At a cost of $300 per eligible physician, you can get a consultant on site at any location in Texas. Visit  TMA's Texas REC Resource Center for more information.


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