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The ISMA, AMA have an update for you on the e-prescribing penalty
e-Reports, April 16, 2012
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The ISMA received updated information about the Medicare Electronic Prescribing (eRx) Incentive Program and the 2012 eRx payment adjustment. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) advised the AMA that it has been working to make certain a physician's hardship case is adequately reviewed. CMS wants physicians to know their issues are being examined.

If you have questions or concerns about the penalty and/or your hardship exemption request, contact the CMS QualityNet Help Desk as soon as possible – weekdays, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CMT, at (866) 288-8912 or email them.

CMS is handling all penalty concerns and/or hardship exemption requests on a case-by-case basis. Federal officials issued the following clarifications about issues physicians are experiencing.

Statutory authority/background
CMS is required to adjust the pay of eligible professionals who are not successful electronic prescribers beginning this year. Requirements for successful e-prescribing and avoiding the 2012 pay adjustment appeared in the 2011 Physician Fee Schedule final rule.

In February 2012, all eligible professionals who did not meet these requirements were sent a notification letter.

Hardship exemption requests
In response to feedback, CMS published a standalone eRx rule on Sept. 6, 2011, with additional circumstances under which eligible professionals would qualify for hardship exemptions. You initially had until Nov. 1, 2011, to submit a request for a hardship exemption via the Quality Reporting Communication Support Page; the deadline was later extended by one week.

CMS completed its review of requests in February 2012 and continues to notify requestors via email whether their requests were approved.

Questions and concerns
Although no appeal or review process was established for the eRx Incentive Program and payment adjustment, CMS encourages anyone with questions or concerns to contact the QualityNet Help Desk. If you have issues related to the eRx payment adjustment and/or the rationale for denial of your exemption request, you should also contact the QualityNet Help Desk.

2013-14 eRx pay adjustment
Payment adjustments under the eRx Incentive Program run until 2014. To learn how to avoid the adjustments, visit the CMS website and review MLN Matters Article #SE1206 here.

If you experience problems with the Help Desk, email your concerns directly to Medicare.

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