On November 1st the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) made an adjustment to the 2013 Electronic Prescribing (eRx) Program’s payment exemptions. CMS’ adjustment finalized two new e-Prescribing hardship exemption categories pertaining to the EHR Medicare and Medicaid Incentive Program in the 2013 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Rule. The new eRx hardship exemptions from CMS are as follows:
- Eligible professionals who achieve meaningful use during certain eRx timeframes. For the 2013 eRx payment adjustment, this will include any eligible professional who achieved meaningful use during January 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012 and has attested to this by January 31, 2013.
- Eligible professionals who demonstrate intent to participate in the EHR Incentive Program and adoption of Certified EHR Technology by registering for the EHR Incentive Program by January 31, 2013. Please note: EHR Incentive Program participants must provide their entire EHR Certification Number in the CMS EHR Certification ID field during registration to receive this hardship.
Prior to the adjustments made on November 1st to the eRx incentive program, CMS was acting unfairly toward many eligible professionals who were trying diligently to implement the e-Prescribing program. CMS required the use of G codes in healthcare claims to prove that providers were compliant with e-Prescribing, and then also made those very same providers attest to the utilization of eRx as part of Meaningful Use. In one of our previous blog posts titled, “Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars Lost in Penalties — Is that motivation enough?”, we stated that the “incentive” programs are, “really penalty programs with just a taste of incentive in the early years.” Healthcare stakeholders obviously felt the same as we did, and with this adjustment CMS is attempting to rectify the unfairness. Eligible professionals now only need to register or attest for the EHR Incentive Program by January 31, 2013 to avoid penalty, even if they did not use the G code method of attesting to eRx use. However, if an eligible professional previously registered for the EHR Incentive Program but did not supply the EHR Certification Number for their EHR product at that time, and has not since achieved meaningful use, they need to go back and add that piece of information to their registration before January 31, 2013.
CMS is listening to feedback from vendors and providers alike, this adjustment is evidence of that. Be sure to double check if you qualify for the new eRx exemptions, and join HealthFusion in the evolving conversation with CMS. You can always stay current on industry news and happenings with HealthFusion’s EHR Blog.