Get Rx Connected Campaign

Recently the US Senate passed an important bill - the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008, H.R. 6331, which will halt the July 1 physician pay cut under Medicare for the rest of 2008 and provide a 1.1 percent pay increase in 2009.

A key component of this bill are the first ever incentives to encourage the adoption of electronic prescribing technology by prescribers. The Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act will provide positive Medicare payment incentives of up to 2% for physicians who use qualified e-prescribing systems in 2009 through 2013, and a reduction in payments of up to 2% to physicians and other providers who fail to e-prescribe by 2012.

Below are grids that show the Medicare payment incentives timeline, as well as the reduction timeline.

E-prescribing Incentive Timeline

2009 - 2010..........................     2% bonus

2011 - 2012..........................     1% bonus

2013....................................     .5% bonus

2014 and beyond..................      no bonus

No E-prescribing Penalty Timeline

2012....................................     1% penalty

2013....................................     1.5% penalty

2014 and beyond..................     2% penalty

These incentives underline the importance being placed on e-prescribing technology to both improve the safety and accuracy of the prescribing process, and to improve the efficiency of practice operations.

In addition, according to American Medical News , "Under the new Medicare law, CMS will drop e-prescribing use from the list of PQRI measures. The quality reporting program will run all of next year, and Congress boosted the possible bonus to 2%. So in 2009, physicians could receive the additional 2% for e-prescribing under the new Medicare law and another 2% for reporting quality measures under PQRI."

To begin realizing these benefits as quickly as possible, TMA encourages members to visit www.GetRxConnected.com/TMA . There, physicians will find information and guidance on how to 'Get Connected' for e-prescribing.

Resources found at www.GetRxConnected.com/TMA are equally important for physicians that have not yet taken steps to acquire e-prescribing technology, and for those that may already be using an electronic medical record (EMR) or e-prescribing system, but have not yet established an electronic connection to pharmacies.

Over 150,000 physicians across the country use systems that can transmit prescriptions electronically, but many do not know it. A free E-Prescribing Readiness Report can confirm the ability of a practice's technology to transmit prescriptions in this way.

To learn more about e-prescribing and the Get Rx Connected campaign, contact the TMA Health information technology helpline at (800) 880-5720 or e-mail Health Information Technology .


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