Proposed Exemptions to E Rx Program

With the deadline fast approaching to avoid the 2012 penalty for not meeting the E prescribing requirements, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed additional exemptions to appear in the Federal Register on June 1, 2011. The proposed regulation change will be open to comments until July 25, 2011 after which time a final rule will be published.

The main concern of many is that physicians would be unjustly penalized for not meeting the required number of electronic prescriptions by June 30, 2011 or December 31, 2011. The current exemptions are:

  • The eligible professional practices in a rural area without sufficient high speed internet access.
  • The eligible professional practices in an area without sufficient available pharmacies for electronic prescribing.

Proposed new exemptions add the following:

  • Physician is registered to participate in the Medicare or Medicaid electronic health record incentive program
  • Physician may not prescribe electronically due to local, state or federal law or regulation
  • Physician infrequently prescribes (i.e., does not meet the required 10 electronic prescriptions between January 1, 2011 and June 30, 2011)
  • The program limits the opportunities for e-prescribing (i.e., physicians who primarily perform surgery).

If the proposal becomes final, it is expected that a web-portal will be established for physicians to apply for the exemption with a deadline of October 1, 2011.

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