Medicare providers who were required to e-prescribe in the first six months of 2012 but did not may avoid penalties under two newly proposed hardship exemptions.
The CMS has proposed two new exemptions for so-called eligible professionals who were required to e-prescribe at least 10 times during the first six months of 2012 or lose 1.5% of their Medicare payments next year. Those penalties increase to 2% of Medicare payments by 2014.
The proposed hardship exemptions would eliminate penalties for providers and practices that achieved meaningful use of certified electronic health-record systems in 2013 and 2014, as well as those that indicate their intent to participate in the EHR incentive program. The specific ways in which providers would demonstrate to either the CMS or their state Medicaid program their intent to participate in the EHR program were not specified.
If finalized, the proposed exemptions would follow last year's hardship accommodations given to providers located in rural areas with limited high-speed Internet access; providers in an area where there are few pharmacies that use e-prescribing; providers who prescribe high volumes of narcotics; and those who write fewer than 100 prescriptions over six months.