Healthcare Business News

Leavitt calls for e-prescribing mandate

Posted: May 21, 2008 - 12:01 am ET

Medicare will eventually begin linking higher payment to providers with electronic prescribing systems as a way to improve value for beneficiaries, HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said during a symposium.

“I believe that very soon we’re going to have to tell participating Medicare providers that if they intend to use a system other than e-prescribing, we won’t be able to compensate them at the highest level,” Leavitt said at the event sponsored by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association and RxHub.

Leavitt also seemed optimistic that Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) would include an e-prescribing mandate in an upcoming Medicare reform bill. “There’s been substantial support for e-prescribing in both parties. I would hope a Medicare bill would include the authority I just described,” he said.

The association is part of a large coalition of industry groups that has been pushing for an e-Rx mandate. However, a mandate that carries potential penalties should be deferred until two years after final standards are in place, the American Medical Association has recommended. “We do need to give people a fair chance” to prepare for such a change, Leavitt said, adding that he would consider the AMA’s approach, but wouldn’t elaborate on whether two years was a reasonable phase-in period. -- by Jennifer Lubell

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