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E-Prescribing Update: File for Hardship Exemption by June 30 to Avoid Penalties
By News Staff
Physicians can apply for a hardship exemption if they
- are unable to e-prescribe because of local, state or federal regulations;
- experience limited prescribing activity;
- have insufficient opportunity in their practice setting to use the required CPT codes;
- practice in rural areas with limited high-speed Internet access; or
- work in areas where few pharmacies have implemented e-prescribing.
To avoid receiving the 2013 penalty -- a 1.5 decrease in Medicare payment -- physicians have until June 30 to either request an exemption or report the "G" 8553 code signifying e-prescribing for at least 10 billable Medicare Part B services provided between Jan. 1, 2012, and June 30, 2012.
"For each penalty year, physicians must demonstrate that they are e-prescribing by June 30 of the prior year," said Waldren.
He encouraged family physicians who qualify for a hardship exemption to apply for one in a timely manner. However, he also urged physicians who have the capacity to e-prescribe to give the technology a try.
"The Academy has gotten good feedback from members about the benefits of e-prescribing," said Waldren. For example, family physicians who prescribe electronically appreciate the speed and safety the technology provides.
Waldren pointed out that physicians still have plenty of time to embrace e-prescribing and prevent a reduction in their Medicare payments in 2014, when the penalty assessed will equal a 2 percent pay cut for covered Medicare professional services.
Although there is no formal appeal or review process for physicians who have been assessed the e-prescribing penalty in 2012, CMS urges physicians with questions about their individual situations to e-mail the QualityNet Help Desk or call (866) 288-8912 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CDT.
According to CMS sources, all questions about e-prescribing penalty payment adjustments and hardship exemption decisions will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
Coming in January 2012
Watch for New Remittance Advice 'Remark Codes' Related to E-Prescribing
Family Practice Management: "The EHR Incentive Program: Consider Waiting for Next Year"
(published ahead of print on July 7, 2011)
CMS Electronic Prescribing (eRx) Incentive Program