TMA Asks CMS to Delay E-Prescription Deadline

For Immediate Release 
June 22, 2011


Contact: Pam Udall
phone: (512) 370-1382
cell: (512) 413-6807

Brent Annear
phone: (512) 370-1381
cell: (512) 656-7320

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The Texas Medical Association (TMA) today urged the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to push back its fast-approaching deadline for physicians to report they have prescribed medications electronically or be penalized. The unreasonable deadline is causing serious problems for Texas physicians and their patients. 

CMS requires a physician who sees Medicare patients to report having transmitted 10 e-prescriptions by June 30, 2011; otherwise CMS will slap the physician with a 1-percent penalty on all allowable charges he or she bills to Medicare beginning in 2012. In order to comply with the deadline the law imposes, some physicians are rushing into e-prescribing to avoid the penalty, using free or temporary systems. However, they are not permanent participants in the system. Pharmacists assume these physicians are active e-prescribers monitoring their electronic communications, which could cause problems such as delaying refills for some patients. Physicians simply need more time to research and adopt an e-prescribing system that works for them and their patients.

TMA asked CMS to defer the compliance date for 10 prescriptions to Oct.1, 2011. TMA also has asked the agency to modify a proposed rule by granting a physician an automatic exemption if the physician attests that he or she intends to e-prescribe by Oct. 1, 2012, under a separate Medicare incentive program that rewards physicians for “meaningful use” of an electronic health record, including the use of e-prescribing technology. TMA strongly encouraged CMS to use a rational approach in making this important change to avoid damaging the health industry’s ability to manage electronic prescriptions properly and to avoid harm to patients and the health care system.  

TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 45,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 120 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.

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