Start eRx by 6/30 to avoid 1% CMS Penalty in 2012

The latest “CMS” announcements regarding eligibility requirements and registration as it relates to eRx, and EHR incentives may require you to act now (between now and June 30th), in order to maximize the available incentives and minimize any penalties.

Although a 1% Medicare penalty for failing to use e-prescribing doesn’t officially kick in until 2012, physicians must implement and use eRX (ePrescribing) at least 10 times between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2011, to avoid the pay cut in 2012, and at least 25 times by the end of 2011 to avoid a penalty in 2013.

The e-prescribing program began paying out bonuses in 2009 and will continue through 2013, at which point it sunsets. Bonus payments for meaningful use of EHR began this year and will be available through 2015 or 2016, depending on the first year in which a practice adopts a system. Penalties for nonparticipation in the e-prescribing program will be levied between 2012 and 2014. Penalties for failing to adopt a certified EHR begin in 2015.

eRx Incentives
There are a number of changes with regards to eRx that were recently announced. Hence, much of this is new to everyone. You do not get both – eRx incentive and ARRA Stimulus/EHR Incentive. However, you CAN be penalized for both.

The following are some important points that come to mind as it relates to the recent announcements:

  • eRx - I knew there were going to be payment reductions for those providers who do not utilize electronic prescribing, beginning in 2012. The aspect that was ‘News’ to me - the 2012 eRx Payment Adjustment penalty will be assessed on whether or not an individual provider/Group Practice has sent the requisite number of eRx’s between January 1 and June 30th of 2011, not 2012. [http://www.cms.gov/ERxIncentive/]
  • EHR Incentive Program – For more information regarding the ARRA/EHR Incentive Program, including Eligibility, Registration & Attestation, “Meaningful Use”, etc. you may want to consult the following website and particularly the web page for “Registration and Attestation” [http://www.cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms/20_RegistrationandAttestation.asp#TopOfPage] if your intent is to register as an “Eligible Professional”.

HST selected our Ingenix CareTracker PM/EHR solution for a number of reasons. One of those reasons was the phased approach that could be taken to adopt the various modules of the system (PM, eRx, Lab Results, Charting, and Patient Portal).

The bottom line is, if you are not sending electronic prescriptions by June 30, 2010 – you will see a 1% Medicare Fee Schedule reduction in 2012. We can help to avoid these penalties. eRx is the first step in moving to EHR. It isn’t a difficult one. For those already using our Ingenix CareTracker PM system (Scheduling, Patient Demographics, Reporting, etc) – this transition is very seamless. It’s already there – you will just need to begin using it. For those not yet using our Scheduling system – we’ll need to discuss your options in more detail.

If you have concerns, questions, or feel that you would like to get up and going on eRx - call me today, 800-372-7790 #23 (toll free). I will provide you with the step-by-step plan to get you started and put you in touch with Rickie Probert who will help you with training.

Visit our site for more information on our Medical Billing Services and Ingenix CareTracker PM and CareTracker EHR solutions.

Geoff Lusty
Vice President - HST

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