Four Days Left to Submit an Exemption for the e-Rx Penalty

It is not too late to submit an exemption to the 2012 e-prescribing penalty. The deadline for requesting an exemption is November 1, 2011. For those of you who are not familiar with the e-Rx incentive program, it will impose a one percent reduction on all of your Medicare reimbursements in 2012, if you did not e-prescribe at least ten times between January, 2011 and June 30, 2011 and submit the appropriate g-code with CMS. If you want more background on the e-Rx incentive program check out our blog posting “Warning! Act Now to Avoid the E-Rx Penalty”.

However, if you meet one of the following conditions you can request an exemption to the penalty by completing the online form located at https://www.qualitynet.org/portal/server.pt/community/communications_support_system/234.

  • Individuals who registered to participate in the Medicare or Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs for 2011 and have adopted Certified EHR technology
  • This exemption does require that you attest to being a meaningful user in 2011. You will need to provide your registration ID number as well as the certification number of your EHR. You can look up your EHR’s certification number at http://onc-chpl.force.com/ehrcert.
  • Individuals who were unable to electronically prescribe due to local, state, or federal law and/or regulation (e.g. prescriptions for controlled substances).
  • Individuals who had limited prescribing activity, while still having prescribing privileges (e.g. an EP that prescribed fewer than 10 prescriptions between January 1, 2011 and June 30, 2011).
  • Individuals who had insufficient opportunities to report the electronic prescribing measure due to limitations of the measure’s denominator (e.g. physicians, such as many surgeons, who do not normally write prescriptions associated with the type of visits included in the e-Rx measure).
  • Individuals who practice in a rural area without sufficient high speed Internet access.
  • Individuals who practice in an area without sufficient available pharmacies for electronic prescribing.

Please note that only the eligible provider affected by the penalty can submit the exemption to CMS. All of the requests for exemption are reviewed individually by CMS and there is no appeal.

You can also request a report that details what information CMS has on your e-Rx use by completing the form located at https://www.qualitynet.org/portal/server.pt/community/communications_support_system/234. A guide on how to interpret the report can be found at https://www.cms.gov/ERxIncentive/Downloads/2012eRxPayAdjustFRUserGuide_F09-07-2011.pdf.

Remember: if you e-prescribe 25 times by the end of the year you qualify for the one percent bonus on your 2011 Medicare reimbursements, and avoid the e-prescribing penalty in 2013.

This post is the personal opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the American College of Physicians (ACP). ACP does not endorse a specific EHR brand or product and ACP makes no representations, warranties, or assurances as to the accuracy or completeness of the information provided herein.

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