The news that the CMS will be more flexible in its electronic prescribing regulations was welcomed by physicians who were concerned that doctors were being penalized for e-prescribing barriers beyond their control.
Doc groups welcome e-scripts changes
"Eliminating unreasonable penalties and burdensome requirements and providing physicians with more flexibility through an exemption process will help ensure more physicians are able to successfully participate in the e-prescribing incentive program," said Dr. Cecil Wilson, president of the American Medical Association, in a news release. "Preventing physicians who largely prescribe controlled substances only from being hit with a cut is another key change proposed today that the AMA strongly supports.:
Dr. David Bragg, a family physician in Garland, Texas, and an AMA delegate with the Texas Medical Association, also cited the difficulties that some physicians, such as orthopedic surgeons, who frequently prescribe narcotic medications had in complying with the previous e-prescribing rules.
"I think this is definitely a step in the right direction, and we're very appreciative that there is recognition that there are a lot of difficulties in trying to stay compliant with the e-prescribing guidelines," said Bragg, senior vice president of medical informatics at HealthTexas, an affiliate of the Dallas-based Baylor Health Care System. "It allows exemptions for physicians who are following the spirit of the rule but are unable to follow it exactly."
Bragg added that he would like the CMS to also address the barriers faced when physicians prescribe medications for Medicare patients who use mail-order pharmacies.
Robert Tennant, senior policy adviser for the Medical Group Management Association, agreed. But he said that, overall, the changes that the CMS proposed were welcome.
"We'll be including the mail-order issue in our comments on the proposed rule to CMS," Tennant said. "But we're very pleased to see the broad scope of this proposed rule and the recognition that there are situations where it's almost impossible to meet the requirements.”
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