Physicians now have until 10:59 pm today (July 2) to apply for the e-prescribing hardship exemption to prevent a penalty in 2013 on Medicare allowable charges. The original deadline was June 30, but the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) extended it because of scheduled maintenance on the webpagewhere physicians must apply for the exemption.
Physicians can apply for the exemption for one of these four reasons:
- Is unable to electronically prescribe due to local, state, or federal regulations (e.g., controlled substances).
- Prescribes infrequently (fewer than 100 prescriptions across all payers between Jan. 1, 2012, and June 30, 2012)
- Practices in a rural area without sufficient high-speed Internet access (can also add G9642 on a claim form one time)
- Practices in an area without sufficient available pharmacies accepting e-prescriptions (can also report G8643 one time)
CMS will impose a 1.5-percent penalty on 2013 Medicare payments to physicians who do not meet the e-prescribing program requirements. This applies even to physicians participating in the federal electronic health record incentive program. It is not enough to simply e-prescribe for 10 Medicare patients; you must add G8553 to the claims accompanying that patient encounter. Details about e-prescribing software and how to comply with the program are available here.
CMS says physicians must use this link to seek a hardship exemption: https://www.qualitynet.org/portal/server.pt/community/communications_support_system/234A. The agency says it "cannot be responsible for eligible professionals who access our site via a different link; we cannot guarantee that the data will be stored and saved in our database for processing."
Questions about the e-prescribing program and other office technologies may be directed to TMA's Department of Health Information Technology by calling (800) 880-570 or emailing HIT@texmed.org.
Action, July 2, 2012