HHS plans to announce a new initiative to encourage physicians to adopt electronic-prescribing tools.
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt is scheduled to join CMS acting Administrator Kerry Weems and James King, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, in a news teleconference today to discuss this step toward the adoption of e-prescribing.
The initiative is part of the administrations broader efforts to accelerate the adoption of health information technology and the establishment of a healthcare system based on value, the department announced.
A new Medicare law that went into effect last week establishes a rewards-penalties system for adopting e-prescribing. Physicians under the new statute will be able to receive bonus payments for adopting e-prescribing over a five-year period, starting in 2009. At the outset, doctors would be eligible for a 2% bump in reimbursement dollars, which would gradually trend downward over time as the technology becomes more common and less expensive. Conversely, doctors will get docked up to 2% for not adopting and using the technology starting in 2012.
The law also requires a comprehensive study on the effectiveness of e-prescribing to come from the Government Accountability Office by late 2012.
See today's "Electronic prescribing provisions hailed by docs" for more on this initiative.